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Title: Lateralisation of escape responses in the stripe-faced dunnart, 'Sminthopsis macroura' (Dasyuridae: Marsupialia)
Contributor(s): Lipplios, G (author); Westman, Wendy (author); McAllan, Bronwyn Marie (author); Rogers, Lesley  (author)
Publication Date: 2005
DOI: 10.1080/13576500442000210
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Abstract: Although lateralisation has been observed in many vertebrate species, marsupials have been neglected in the study of lateralisation. We investigated the behavioural responses of the stripe-faced dunnart ('Sminthopsis macroura') to a mechanical model of a snake approaching into the monocular (left and right) or the binocular visual field. The snake model was presented to 30 adult subjects. The behavioural responses and the latency to react to the stimulus were scored. Reactivity was calculated by pooling scores for retreat, startle, ears back, and orientation. Retreat tended to be the most common of these responses. Approach of the snake into the dunnarts' left monocular visual field elicited a significantly higher reactivity compared to approach into the right or binocular visual field. Half of the animals did not respond in the 60 seconds allocated when the stimulus approached on their right side, whereas only seven did not respond when the stimulus approached on the left, and ten when the stimulus was presented binocularly. These results are consistent with the right hemisphere's known specialisation for controlling fear and escape responses. Our results suggest that marsupials are lateralised in a way similar to other vertebrates.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, 10(5), p. 457-470
Publisher: Psychology Press
Place of Publication: England, United Kingdom
ISSN: 1357-650X
Field of Research (FOR): 060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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