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Behavioural responses in mice exposed to predator odour components
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10,5 credits / 16 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

It is essential for prey species to be able to detect predators to avoid them. The sense of smell is used by a number of prey species for this purpose. The aim of the present study was to assess if one of the odourants that make up a predator odour is sufficient to induce a behavioural response in mice (Mus musculus). Two predator odourants were used, 2,2-dimethylthietane and methyl-2-phenylethyl sulfide, which are both found in the secretions of natural predators of mice. An odourant found in fruits, n-pentyl acetate, was also used. All three odourants were presented at a concentration that was a factor of 100 above the olfactory detection threshold of mice. Ten adult predator-naïve CD-1 mice were individually put in a two-compartment chamber one of which contained an odourant while the other contained a near-odourless solvent (diethyl phthalate). The results indicated that methyl-2-phenylethyl sulfide was actively avoided by the mice. Towards 2,2-dimethylthietane and n-pentyl acetate, in contrast, the mice behaved indifferent. Further, the results suggest a significant correlation between the number of switches between the two compartments of the test chamber and the test sessions when the animals were presented with n-pentyl acetate, but not when they were presented with the predator odourants. The results support the notion of an innate fear response towards the predator odourant methyl-2-phenylethyl sulfide in mice, but further studies with more animals and different concentrations of the odourants are necessary.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 20 p.
Keyword [en]
Mice (mus musculus), Predator odourants, 2, 2-dimethylthietane, Methyl-2-phenylethyl sulfide, N-pentyl acetate, Behavioural response, neophobia, prey species
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology Zoology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-108103ISRN: LiTH-IFM- Ex-14/2882-SEOAI: diva2:730522
Subject / course
2014-06-05, Nobel, Linköpings universitet 58183, Linköping, 14:30 (English)
Available from: 2014-07-10 Created: 2014-06-25 Last updated: 2015-03-06Bibliographically approved

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