Presentation Type

Poster - Campus Access Only

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Nathan Insel

Faculty Mentor’s Department

College of Humanities & Scienes

Abstract / Artist's Statement

Octodon Degus is a highly social species, members of which seem to interact constructively even when they are strangers. In most species, juveniles and adolescents play with one another, possibly because they are curious and seek social interactions. Our lab previously did a study on the effects of separation and isolation on adult degus. We found that there was significantly more interaction after a period of separation or isolation compared to the control. We were interested in how separating or isolating the animals would affect juvenile and adolescent degus, play behavior, and how play behavior patterns may differ from interaction patterns observed in the adults. To do this we isolated or separated the degus then brought them back together and analyzed their interactions. Isolating the degus entailed placing them in two individual cages for 24 hours. After 24 hours they were placed together in an observational box for 20 minutes and it was recorded. When separating the animals, the cagemate pairs were separated and housed with different siblings for 24 hours. The videos were scored for five interaction types. We found that patterns of behavior after isolation versus separation are not the same as what was observed in the adults. In juveniles, no significant difference in interaction levels were seen between the separation, isolation, and control (1 minute isolation) groups. However, we found that juveniles interacted more with strangers compared to familiar cagemates after isolation. The adolescent degus showed a trend for more interactions in the isolation condition, particularly compared with control. Surprisingly, in neither group were degus found to play with one-another, in contrast with observations we have made in other species (e.g., rats). Overall, interaction patterns differ between juvenile, adolescent, and adult degus; however, this is not due to play behavior as we originally expected.

Category

Humanities

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Apr 22nd, 3:00 PM Apr 22nd, 4:00 PM

Social Motivation in Juvenile & Adolescent Degus: Effects of Separation & Isolation on Behaviors

UC South Ballroom

Octodon Degus is a highly social species, members of which seem to interact constructively even when they are strangers. In most species, juveniles and adolescents play with one another, possibly because they are curious and seek social interactions. Our lab previously did a study on the effects of separation and isolation on adult degus. We found that there was significantly more interaction after a period of separation or isolation compared to the control. We were interested in how separating or isolating the animals would affect juvenile and adolescent degus, play behavior, and how play behavior patterns may differ from interaction patterns observed in the adults. To do this we isolated or separated the degus then brought them back together and analyzed their interactions. Isolating the degus entailed placing them in two individual cages for 24 hours. After 24 hours they were placed together in an observational box for 20 minutes and it was recorded. When separating the animals, the cagemate pairs were separated and housed with different siblings for 24 hours. The videos were scored for five interaction types. We found that patterns of behavior after isolation versus separation are not the same as what was observed in the adults. In juveniles, no significant difference in interaction levels were seen between the separation, isolation, and control (1 minute isolation) groups. However, we found that juveniles interacted more with strangers compared to familiar cagemates after isolation. The adolescent degus showed a trend for more interactions in the isolation condition, particularly compared with control. Surprisingly, in neither group were degus found to play with one-another, in contrast with observations we have made in other species (e.g., rats). Overall, interaction patterns differ between juvenile, adolescent, and adult degus; however, this is not due to play behavior as we originally expected.