Date of Award
Master of Science
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.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Rodriguez-Wagner, Cristina Aurora, "Decoding the Tunnel Behavior of Damaraland Mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis)" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2199.