Comparison of food hoarding of two sympatric rodent species under interspecific competition.

Behavioural processes

PubMedID: 23124017

Zhang YF, Tong L, Ji WH, Lu JQ. Comparison of food hoarding of two sympatric rodent species under interspecific competition. Behav Processes. 2013;9260-4.
Competition can greatly affect the food hoarding strategies of rodents and the fate of seeds hoarded. In order to understand the influence of interspecific competition on food caching behavior of sympatric rodents, we investigated food hoarding patterns of two sympatric rodent species, buff-breasted rat (Rattus flavipectus) and Chinese white-bellied rat (Niviventor confucianus), and compared their responses and adjustment in hoarding behavior under interspecific competition. The results showed that: (1) the buff-breasted rat larder hoarded seeds only, while Chinese white-bellied rat hoarded seeds in both larder and scatter forms; (2) two species of rodents both larder hoarded more seeds when competitors were present; and (3) the Chinese white-bellied rats adjusted their seed hoarding from scatter to larder when competitors were introduced, which reduced the seed availability. Therefore, we concluded that rodents would adjust their food hoarding strategy when interspecific competitors were present, and this may produce a different effect on the fate of seeds and the recruitment of plants. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: insert SI title.