Stress coping styles and singing behavior in the short-tailed singing mouse (Scotinomys teguina)

Ondi L. Crino*, Iske Larkin, Steven M. Phelps

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


Stress coping styles have been characterized as a proactive/reactive dichotomy in laboratory and domesticated animals. In this study, we examined the prevalence of proactive/reactive stress coping styles in wild-caught short-tailed singing mice (Scotinomys teguina). We compared stress responses to spontaneous singing, a social and reproductive behavior that characterizes this species. To establish proactive/reactive profiles for singing mice, we measured exploratory and anxiety behavior using an open-field behavioral test. We examined correlations between open-field behaviors and fecal corticosterone (CORT) metabolites, baseline plasma CORT, and stress-induced CORT. Mice with proactive behavioral responses in the open-field had higher fecal CORT titers than reactive males, but did not differ in baseline or stress-induced plasma CORT. We suggest that individual differences in CORT metabolism may contribute to this surprising pattern. Males that sang in the open-field were behaviorally proactive and had lower stress-induced CORT, indicating a link between stress responses and singing in this species. Overall, the data demonstrate that singing mice offer an interesting model for exploring how stress reactivity can shape social behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-340
Number of pages7
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Anogenital distance
  • Fecal corticosterone
  • Population differences
  • Proactive
  • Reactive

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