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A methodological analysis of behavioural observation in social African mole rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia)

(2013) MAMMALIA. 77(1). p.59-69
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Abstract
This study evaluates a number of methodological aspects regarding the recording and analysis of social behaviour in mole rat colonies (Bathyergidae, Rodentia). Behavioural observations were carried out on a colony of wild-caught Fukomys micklemi, in order to define an efficient, standardised method for future research. First, durations of work behaviour were scored and compared with data expressed as frequencies (recording method used in previous research). Second, a comparison was made between a terrarium set-up and a set-up with a perspex tunnel system, including a digging unit. Third, observations were carried out at different times of the day in order to map daily activity patterns. Our results show that the set-up with the tunnel system evokes more work activity and increases behavioural resolution. Using frequencies showed to be a better proxy for activity than the labour-intensive scoring of durations. Interindividual variation in activity patterns over a 24-h period were shown to be highly variable, and the moment of peak activity was not consistent. Observations should thus be carried out randomly during the day to avoid any temporal bias.
Keywords
African mole rats, activity, behavioural observations, LOCOMOTOR-ACTIVITY, CIRCADIAN-RHYTHMS, Fukomys, methodology, CRYPTOMYS-HOTTENTOTUS-PRETORIAE, DAILY ACTIVITY PATTERNS, SPALACOPUS-CYANUS, COLONY STRUCTURE, HETEROCEPHALUS-GLABER, DOMINANCE HIERARCHY, SUBTERRANEAN RODENT, DAMARENSIS RODENTIA

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Chicago
Desmet, Niels, Paul Van Daele, and Dominique Adriaens. 2013. “A Methodological Analysis of Behavioural Observation in Social African Mole Rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia).” Mammalia 77 (1): 59–69.
APA
Desmet, Niels, Van Daele, P., & Adriaens, D. (2013). A methodological analysis of behavioural observation in social African mole rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia). MAMMALIA, 77(1), 59–69.
Vancouver
1.
Desmet N, Van Daele P, Adriaens D. A methodological analysis of behavioural observation in social African mole rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia). MAMMALIA. 2013;77(1):59–69.
MLA
Desmet, Niels, Paul Van Daele, and Dominique Adriaens. “A Methodological Analysis of Behavioural Observation in Social African Mole Rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia).” MAMMALIA 77.1 (2013): 59–69. Print.
@article{4259192,
  abstract     = {This study evaluates a number of methodological aspects regarding the recording and analysis of social behaviour in mole rat colonies (Bathyergidae, Rodentia). Behavioural observations were carried out on a colony of wild-caught Fukomys micklemi, in order to define an efficient, standardised method for future research. First, durations of work behaviour were scored and compared with data expressed as frequencies (recording method used in previous research). Second, a comparison was made between a terrarium set-up and a set-up with a perspex tunnel system, including a digging unit. Third, observations were carried out at different times of the day in order to map daily activity patterns. Our results show that the set-up with the tunnel system evokes more work activity and increases behavioural resolution. Using frequencies showed to be a better proxy for activity than the labour-intensive scoring of durations. Interindividual variation in activity patterns over a 24-h period were shown to be highly variable, and the moment of peak activity was not consistent. Observations should thus be carried out randomly during the day to avoid any temporal bias.},
  author       = {Desmet, Niels and Van Daele, Paul and Adriaens, Dominique},
  issn         = {0025-1461},
  journal      = {MAMMALIA},
  keyword      = {African mole rats,activity,behavioural observations,LOCOMOTOR-ACTIVITY,CIRCADIAN-RHYTHMS,Fukomys,methodology,CRYPTOMYS-HOTTENTOTUS-PRETORIAE,DAILY ACTIVITY PATTERNS,SPALACOPUS-CYANUS,COLONY STRUCTURE,HETEROCEPHALUS-GLABER,DOMINANCE HIERARCHY,SUBTERRANEAN RODENT,DAMARENSIS RODENTIA},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {59--69},
  title        = {A methodological analysis of behavioural observation in social African mole rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2012-0021},
  volume       = {77},
  year         = {2013},
}

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