Light masking in the field: An experiment with nocturnal and diurnal spiny mice under semi-natural field conditions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Light masking has been studied almost exclusively in the laboratory. The authors populated four field enclosures with locally coexisting nocturnal Acomys cahirinus and diurnal A. russatus, and monitored their body temperatures (Tb) using implanted temperature-sensitive radio transmitters. A 3-h light pulse was initiated at the beginning of two consecutive nights; preceding nights were controls. A. cahirinus Tb and calculated activity levels decreased significantly during the light pulse, demonstrating a negative light masking response (light effect on Tb: -0.32°C±0.15°C; average calculated activity records during the light pulse: 7±1.53, control: 9.8±1.62). Diurnal A. russatus did not respond to the light pulse. We conclude that light masking is not an artifact of laboratory conditions but represents a natural adaptive response in free-living populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-75
Number of pages6
JournalChronobiology International
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

Keywords

  • Acomys
  • Activity patterns
  • Adaptive response
  • Body temperature
  • Field study
  • Light masking
  • Spiny mice

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Light masking in the field: An experiment with nocturnal and diurnal spiny mice under semi-natural field conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this