In laboratory experiments we investigate hunting behavior towards insects in Phodopus sungorus (Pallas 1773), P. сampbelli (Thomas 1905), Allocricetulus eversmanni (Brandt 1859), and A. curtatus (Allen 1925). In these species purposeful inter-relations with insects in the predator–prey manner have been revealed and described in details. In all species investigated, the patterns of hunting behavior are comparable with those of specialized predator hamsters. In a quarter of all cases, hamsters start attacks by seizing the prey with their paws, which is considering more evolutionary progressive than capturing with their teeth. The Djungarian hamster P. sungorus demonstrates the simplest pattern of hunting, whereas in other species some features of specialization have been revealed, such as different forms of manipulation activity. A. curtatus displays the swiftest and most effective attacks towards prey. We speculate that the obligatory innate patterns of hunting in both Allocricetulus species are connected with more specialized predatory behavior of members of this more evolutionary young group as compared to members of the genus Phodopus, with their optional hunting patterns which need experience to be completed.
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