Individual variability and photic entrainment of circadian rhythms in golden spiny mice

Rotem Cohen, Noga Kronfeld-Schor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Golden spiny mice are diurnally active in most of their natural habitat. Their diurnal activity is ascribed to non-photic cues: competitive exclusion from the nocturnal niche, or thermoregulatory considerations. Here we studied the entrainment of golden spiny mice to light. In the laboratory, golden spiny mice were primarily nocturnal and displayed an unusual variety of rhythm patterns, with activity bursts occurring during both activity and rest periods. Spontaneous shifts of activity rhythms between light phases were sometimes recorded. In all cases but one, body temperature shifted in parallel with activity. Under DD conditions, the free running period (tau) of all individuals but one was shorter than 24 h, and in all individuals but the same one it was shorter than tau under LL conditions. In response to a 6 h phase delay, all individuals entrained to the new LD cycle in a relatively uniform way. During phase advance four out of the twelve individuals further delayed their activity and body temperature rhythms, and eight individuals advanced their activity rhythm, but the re-entrainment took them over twice as long as to re-entrain to the phase delay. We suggest that the golden spiny mouse is a nocturnal rodent whose circadian system developed the flexibility to be nocturnal or diurnal according to environmental conditions, or a nocturnal rodent in the process of turning diurnal, and that it has low sensitivity to the immediate masking effect of light on activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-574
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2006


FundersFunder number
Bloom's Syndrome Foundation2003048


    • Acomys russatus
    • Circadian rhythms
    • Diurnal activity
    • Masking


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