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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The International Journal of Comparative Psychology is sponsored by the International Society for Comparative Psychology. It is a peer-reviewed open-access digital journal that publishes studies on the evolution and development of behavior in all animal species. It accepts research articles and reviews, letters and audiovisual submissions.

Volume 7, Issue 1, 1994

Research Article

Flavour-Meal Size Conditioning in the Rat (rattus noregicus) Failure to Confirm Some Earlier Findings

A series of experiments was carried out in order to explore further the possibility that hungry rats, both mature and weanling, might learn to associate flavours with different sizes of meals made from the same diet. The general procedure used involved providing rats with either a large meal (e.g. 5 gm). usually consisting of wet mash with an added flavour such as anise, or a small meal (e.g. 1 gm) of the same diet with a second flavour such as vanilla added, on alternate days. Following a number of such discrimination training days, subjects were given a two-jar extinction choice test to assess their relative preferences for the two flavours. It was originally anticipated that rats would come to prefer the flavour associated with the larger meal (i.e., conditioned appetite), because the larger meal provided more calories. However, this result was never obtained. When a significant preference was acquired, this was for the flavour of the small meal instead, (i.e. conditioned satiety). The conditioned effects not only extinguished very rapidly but were also rather elusive at times. It is thought that the observed conditioned satiety effects were probably due to flavour-calorie rather than flavour-flavour associations.


Light meditation of Circadian Predatory Behavior in the Young Alligator

Minnow predation by 10 young American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis)was systematically measured during four daily time periods under four different conditions of lighting in order to investigate a circadian rhythm of redatory behavior.The four daily time periods were night (1:00 a.m. -7.00  a.m.),morning (7.00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.), afternoon (1:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.), and evening (7:00p.m. -1:00 a.m.). Each of the following lighting conditions had a duration of 4 weeks:continuous complete darkness (DD); continuous artificial illumination (LL); naturally varying Ught-dark conditions (natural LD); and reversed light-dark conditions with artificial lights on at sunset and off at sunrise (reversed LD). Predatory behavior (i.e., the number of prey fish consumed wholly or partially during each test session) varied significantly as a function of the interaction between time period and lighting condition.Under natural LD, the mean number of prey killed during  night sessions was significantly higher than either morning or afternoon sessions. Under reversed LD,the pattern of predation reversed from that exhibited under normal Ughting, with both morning and afternoon predation significantly higher than either evening or night. Under conditions of continuous illumination (LL and DD) the natural LD circadian pattern persisted for over 1 week with significantly higher predation rates during the night periods as ompared to the morning and afternoon periods. The gradual transition of predation pattern in response to manipulations of the light-dark cycle suggests that the circadian rhythm of alligator predadon is dependent upon light-dark variation for entrainment.

Portia labia, a Cannibalistic Jumping Spider, Discriminataes Between Own and Foreign Eggsacs


recognition was investigated in Portia labiata, a jumping spider (Salticidae) that routinely feeds on the eggs of conspecifics, but does not normally feed on its own eggs. In laboratory experiments, we demonstrate that P. labiata females can discriminate between their own and foreign eggsacs. The cues by which these discriminations are made are discussed.