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Influence of predator and food chemical cues in the behaviour of the house mouse (Mus musculus)

Grau Paricio, Carlos. Influence of predator and food chemical cues in the behaviour of the house mouse (Mus musculus). PhD, Pathologie, Toxicologie, Génétique et Nutrition, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2019

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Abstract

Rodent commensal species produce great damage in agriculture and urban areas. As invasive species they can endanger local species and are carriers and vectors of several important zoonoses. Control methods rely mainly on the use of warfarins, which can be inadvertently be taken up by untargeted species. Warfarins have also lost their efficacy in rodents due to the development of genetic resistance. In addition, these methods are considered inhumane as they cause a slow and painful death due to haemorrhages. Olfaction is a main source for environmental risk assessment by rodents, and it can be used to modify their use of space. My aim in this thesis was to identify behavioural reactions of the house mouse (Mus musculus), using laboratory strains as models of wild animals, to ecologically meaningful chemical messages, including predator and plant chemical olfactory cues. My results showed that mice avoided complex ferret olfactory cues and ethanol which is a ubiquitous chemical related to fruit rotting and ripening. The feline protein Fel d 1, which belongs to the secretoglobin family and is a major cat allergen in humans, did not elicit significant avoidance or alter foraging behaviour in mice. However, Trimethylthiazoline purified from fox faeces, elicited clear avoidance behaviour and stress responses. I carried out a bibliographic review to evaluate and discuss rodent pest control methods from an ethical standpoint. This literature showed that many of the current methods of pest control are considered inhumane, and do not tally with current society concerns and welfare standards in other domains such as farms or laboratory animals. These results raise new research questions to identify ferret and plant chemical compounds that can induce rodent avoidance, and to carry out next stage of research with wild animals both under laboratory and field conditions.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
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Research Director:
Pageat, Patrick and Manteca i Vilanova, Xavier
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Deposited On:10 Jul 2019 14:26

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