Very little is known about the social behavior of Heather Voles (Phenacomys intermedius), mainly because they are difficult to trap and maintain in captivity. We were able to maintain individuals in the laboratory and observe dyadic interactions among adult males and females, as well as related and unrelated juveniles, in a neutral arena. Overall, Heather Voles were very docile compared to other microtine species observed in captivity. There were no amicable behaviors observed, and the majority of encounters consisted of neutral egocentric actions. Males and females showed very similar levels of aggression in intrasexual encounters, although encounters between males contained more overt fighting behaviors. Male-female encounters contained the most aggressive behaviors (especially chasing), with a large proportion of those behaviors likely being the male attempting to copulate with the female, and the female resisting. No differences in aggressive behaviors were observed between related and unrelated juveniles.
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Vol. 91 • No. 2