Wheel running is a behaviour that has a rewarding effect on animals. There are not numerous papers investigating potential relationships between social rank and wheel running in mammals kept in groups, and the majority of published researches were conducted on male house mice (Mus musculus). The aim of our study was to investigate if social dominance and wheel running are related in female Djungarian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus). Hamsters were kept in groups, and social position of every animal was expressed as dominance index calculated on the basis of agonistic behaviour. We found significant positive correlation between dominance index and wheel running (rs = 0.809, n = 18, P < 0.0001), thus dominants used wheel more often than subordinates. Our results are consistent with those published on male mice. In conclusion, we claim that in majority of mammals (independent of their sex) kept in groups with restricted possibility of wheel running, dominants use wheel more often (or in optimal time) than subordinates, what is consistent with the fact that dominants have priority of access to resources.
Raluca Elena Tripon, Ioana Berindan Neagoe, Livia Budisan, Tudor Lucian Pop, Victor Cristea, Liana Maria Stanca and Mihaela Sorina Lupse
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