Interspecific agonistic behaviour in small mammals in a Mexican high-elevational grassland

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Abstract

Field trials were conducted throughout an annual cycle to study the role of agonistic behaviour in explaining the relative abundance of the volcano mouse (Neotomodon alstoni) in a small mammal community in high-altitude grasslands of central Mexico. Intrasexual contests between N. alstoni and three other sympatric rodents (Peromyscus melanotis, Microtus mexicanus, and Reithrodontomys megalotis) were performed. Male and female P. melanotis (100 and 67% of contests, respectively) and M. mexicanus (82 and 100%) were aggressively dominant over N. alstoni, whereas R. megalotis (80 and 100%) were not aggressive. Agonistic behaviour in this species did not explain its greater abundance in the community.

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