Interspecific aggression and behavioural dominance among four sympatric species of shrews

Rychlik, Leszek; Zwolak, Rafal
March 2006
Canadian Journal of Zoology;Mar2006, Vol. 84 Issue 3, p434
Academic Journal
Level of interspecific aggression should reflect intensity of interference competition, and large dominant and small subordinate species should develop aggressive and passive agonistic behaviours, respectively, to achieve stable coexistence. We tested these ideas, investigating interspecific behavioural dominance in a four-species community of shrews varying in body size (Sorex minutus L., 1766; Sorex araneus L., 1758; Neomys anomalus Cabrera, 1907; Neomys fodiens (Pennant, 1771)) by placing interspecific pairs in a neutral field. The order of dominance (determined on the basis of duration of offensive and defensive behaviours, total time spent in the shelter, and a "final shelter resident" index) corresponded to the order of body size: N. fodiens > N. anomalus > S. araneus > S. minutus. The highest number of conflicts and the least pronounced dominance of N. anomalus over S. araneus suggest that the interference competition was strongest between these species. The different social organization of N. anomalus (tolerant and gregarious versus intolerant and solitary in the other three species) did not decrease its aggressiveness and dominance rank. The larger Neomys species were more aggressive and initiated relatively more offensive behaviours, whereas the smaller Sorex species initiated more defensive behaviours. The presence of food and shelter did not intensify conflicts. Nevertheless, dominant species restricted the access of subordinate species to the shelter.


Related Articles

  • Shrew.  // Encyclopedia of Animals;8/1/2017, p1 

    Shrews are mouse-like creatures with long, pointed noses. They are usually active day and night as they look for food. Some shrews have poisonous bites. Shrews are important in the ecological system because they help break down (decompose) dead animals by eating them.

  • Texas Shrews (Blarina hylophaga) Lacking External Eye Openings. Jones, Melissa C.; Simpson, Thomas R.; Manning, Richard W.; Forstner, Michael R. J. // Southeastern Naturalist;2007, Vol. 6 Issue 4, p752 

    Shrews are insectivorous opportunistic foragers occupying moist habitats characterized by high vegetative composition. Shrews characteristically have poorly developed eyesight and rely on olfactory and auditory senses for efficient foraging. Two Blarina hylophaga (Elliot's short-tailed shrew)...

  • A comparison of rodent and insectivore communities between sugarcane plantation and natural habitat in Ethiopia. Takele, Serekebirhan; Bekele, Afework; Belay, Gurja; Balakrishnan, M. // Tropical Ecology;Jan2011, Vol. 52 Issue 1, p61 

    A study on the ecology of rodents and insectivores was carried out in Wonji Sugarcane Plantation between August 2005 and March 2006. As rodents are known to damage standing sugarcane, the present study was aimed to reveal the abundance of various rodent pests in the plantation and in the...

  • A peculiar new fossil shrew (Lipotyphla, Soricidae) from the High Arctic of Canada. Harington, C R; Hutchison, J Howard // Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences;Apr2002, Vol. 39 Issue 4, p439 

    Arctisorex polaris, gen.n., sp.n., from the late Neogene of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, is the most northerly record thus far of a shrew. The genus is represented by the posterior moiety of a dentary and last two molars. The well-developed M[sub 3 ] and the extreme distance between the articular...

  • SHREWS. Bachleda, F. Lynne // Dangerous Wildlife in the Southeast;2001, p245 

    This article provides information on shrews. They are intense, active, nervous creatures who resemble mice, but they have long, slender snouts that house needle-sharp teeth and five-clawed toes on their forefeet. The shrew is a burrower who darts about constantly in search of food to satisfy its...

  • Use of tactile cues by Notiosorex crawford! (Insectivora) in response to topographical features in the environment. Punzo, F.; Parker, M. // Journal of Environmental Biology;May2006 Supplement, Vol. 27, p335 

    The present studies were conducted on the ability of males of the gray shrew, Notiosorex crawfordi to use tactile cues to detect and respond to changes in topographical features of their environment. The animals were videotaped, digitized, and analyzed through video recordings. All subjects...

  • Insectivora.  // Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary (2009);2009, Issue 21, p1204 

    An encyclopedia entry for the term "Insectivora" is presented, which refers to an order of small mammals, such as moles and shrews.

  • Desert Shrewd. Lindstedt, Stan L.; Jones, James H.; Mendez, Raymond A. // Natural History;Jan80, Vol. 89 Issue 1, p46 

    Discusses the life and habitat of the desert shrews, which belong to the mammalian order Insectivora. Geographic distribution; Food; Physiological and behavioral adaptation to temperature changes.

  • Two new species of shrews (Soricidae) from the western highlands of Guatemala. WOODMAN, NEAL // Journal of Mammalogy;Jun2010, Vol. 91 Issue 3, p566 

    The broad-clawed shrews (Soricomorpha: Soricidae: Cryptotis) encompass a clade of 5 species--Cryptotis alticolus (Merriam), C. goldmani (Merriam), C. goodwini Jackson, C. griseoventris Jackson, and C. peregrinus (Merriam)--that is known collectively as the Cryptotis goldmani group and is...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics