Document Detail

On the border: perimeter patrolling as a transitional exploratory phase in a diurnal rodent, the fat sand rat (Psammomys obesus).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17972119     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Exploration is an initial phase of constructing spatial representation. In an illuminated environment, exploration by nocturnal rodents takes the form of home-base behavior, with the rodents organizing their activity in relation to the base, repeatedly orienting and returning to it. In the dark, home base behavior in gerbils is preceded by looping exploration, in which travel paths tangle into loops that close at various locations so that the gerbils pilot from one loop to the next. In the present study we tested a diurnal gerbil, the fat sand rat, Psammomys obesus, in both a lit and a dark open field in order to compare its exploratory behavior with that of nocturnal rodents. We found that under lit conditions, fat sand rats used perimeter patrolling, traveling mainly along the walls of the open field. In perimeter patrolling the animal probably monitors its location in relation to the perimeter (arena walls), and not to a specific location as in home base. In the dark, fat sand rats first used looping, and gradually shifted to perimeter patrolling exploration. We suggest that perimeter patrolling is a transient phase in which the animal evaluates possible locations for a home base. Thus, perimeter patrolling is an intermediate phase between looping, which is based on piloting from one landmark to the next, and home base exploration, in which the animal continuously orients to a specific location. This spatial behavior of perimeter patrolling may shed light on phases of information processing and spatial representation during exploration and navigation.
Reut Avni; David Eilam
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2007-10-31
Journal Detail:
Title:  Animal cognition     Volume:  11     ISSN:  1435-9448     ISO Abbreviation:  Anim Cogn     Publication Date:  2008 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-03-19     Completed Date:  2008-07-10     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9814573     Medline TA:  Anim Cogn     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  311-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University, 69978, Ramat Aviv, Israel.
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MeSH Terms
Association Learning
Circadian Rhythm
Exploratory Behavior*
Gerbillinae / psychology*
Motor Activity
Spatial Behavior*

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