Socio-olfactory world and food selection in the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus

Abstract : The ecological success of the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, implies a great capacity to adapt its diet to available food resources. The social transmission of food preference (STFP) is an adaptive type of learning observed in rodents allowing them to enlarge their food repertoire at lower risk by getting olfactory information on novel food sources from conspecifics. This social learning takes place directly, during an encounter with a conspecific or indirectly, via olfactory marks. The objective of this thesis work was to determine how mice use their socio-olfactory environment to make food choices. Our results revealed that the absence of the conspecific during the indirect STFP reduces the social constraints associated with an encounter and allows the acquisition of STFP between unfamiliar conspecifics. However, some physical constraints associated with the perception of information in feces may reduce the availability of food information. We also showed that different sex concerns of individuals may affect the prioritization of information present in feces and limit, in males, the acquisition of STFP. Our results suggest that the use of food information in mice varies according to their social and ecological context and involves different processes such as emotion and attention. Under natural conditions, the direct and indirect STFP could be complementary, each of them extending the conditions for the transmission of food information in rodents.
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Tatiana Forestier. Socio-olfactory world and food selection in the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus. Animal biology. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018USPCD003⟩. ⟨tel-01947448⟩

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