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Experimental Investigation of Interrelations between Small Rodents and Red Wood Ants

Levenets, J. V., Gromov, V. S., Reznikova, Zh. I., Parteleeva, S. N.
Contemporary problems of ecology 2019 v.12 no.3 pp. 238-244
Apodemus uralensis, Clethrionomys glareolus, Formica aquilonia, Microtus arvalis, defensive behavior, insects, laboratory experimentation, rodents, small mammals
Investigations of the mechanisms of the spatial-behavioral interaction of members of diverse and significant guilds such as red wood ants and small mammals have been started only recently, and many questions remain obscure. We have investigated interrelations between red wood ants Formica aquilonia Yarr and the common vole Microtus arvalis Pallas, the bank vole Myodes glareolus Schreber, and the pygmy wood mouse Sylvaemus uralensis Pallas in laboratory experiments. We first describe the defensive behavior of rodents and reveal a stereotype of the hunting behavior of the common vole towards dangerous insects. In all three rodent species, defensive behavior increases with an increase in the number of ants used in the tests, which corresponds to simulated natural situations with gradations of the dynamic density of insects. We speculate about the relationship between the defensive and hunting behavior of rodents towards red wood ants.