Experimental Investigation of Interrelations between Small Rodents and Red Wood Ants

J. V. Levenets, V. S. Gromov, Zh I. Reznikova, S. N. Parteleeva

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-244
Number of pages7
JournalContemporary Problems of Ecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • behavior
  • interspecies relations
  • red wood ants
  • small rodents

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