Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

6739

Date

2021

Date of Award

7-16-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Biology

Committee Chair

David Freeman

Committee Member

Cassandra Nuez

Committee Member

Keith Bowers

Abstract

Damaraland mole-rats, Fukomys damarensis, are an African rodent species that is one of two mammalian species considered eusocial. Damaraland mole-rats (DMR) live in large colonies comprised of a breeding pair and their non-reproductive offspring in underground tunnel systems. Many adaptations in DMR could be traced back to either their eusocial or subterranean lifestyle. DMR exhibit a behavior within their tunnels that consists of undulating their bodies, reminiscent of a break-dance move. The goal of this research was to characterize the properties of this enigmatic behavior. First, we investigated who exhibited the behavior and found that DMR break-dance regardless of age and sex, but breeding status played a role. Second, we investigated what sensory stimuli elicit break-dancing and found the behavior is elicited by vibrations and air currents in breach simulations, suggesting this behavior is stimulated by specific sensory inputs rather than by general arousal to all environmental stimuli.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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