Conservation and Trapping News

Do whisker movements in Red Fox have meaning?
Nov 28, 2022 08:38 ET

Original Title: Demonstrating a measurement protocol for studying comparative whisker movements with implications for the evolution of behaviour


Studying natural, complex behaviours over a range of different species provides insights into the evolution of the brain and behaviour. Whisker movements reveal complex behaviours; however, there does not yet exist a protocol that is able to capture whisker movements and behaviours in a range of different species.

New method
We develop a new protocol and make recommendations for measuring comparative whisker movements and behaviours. Using two set-ups – an enclosure camera set-up and a high-speed video set-up - we capture and measure the whisker movements of sixteen different captive mammal species from four different animal collections.

We demonstrate the ability to describe whisker movements and behaviours across a wide range of mammalian species. We describe whisker movements in European hedgehog, Cape porcupine, domestic rabbit, domestic ferret, weasel, European otter and red fox for the first time. We observe whisker movements in all the species we tested, although movement, positions and behaviours vary in a species-specific way.

Full story here.