1999 年 49 巻 1 号 p. 1-18
The house musk shrew Suncus murinus has successfully been domesticated for laboratory use both in the United States and Japan. Animals of this species have been found to be useful for behavioural studies in comparative psychology and the related fields. This article dealt with basic characteristics, ecological modes, maintenance of laboratory shrews, basic patterns of behaviour, and assessment of the species as a laboratory animal for behavioural studies. Basic characteristics covered phylogenetic status, morphology, growth, sensory functions, and motor functions. Although its ecology has not yet b en systematically investigated due to the difficulties for observing animals in the wild, some findings on the seasonal and locational variations of the population density in its natural habitat were obtained on the basis of the result of trapping. Keeping and breeding the already domesticated animals in an artificial environment as well as domesticating wild-originating animals were described. Characteristics of the caravaning behaviour were mentioned in relation to its sensitive period, its formation patterns, and development of the sensory and motor functions. Those findings were discussed in connection with its adaptive significance. Also, characteristics of the reproductive behaviour were represented. Behavioural interaction between sexes is expected to determine mating outcome, since the female is an induced ovulator, having no ovarian, vaginal, or behavioural oestrus cycle. Sequential pattern of the behaviour was described with reference to the male's pacifying behaviours and the postejaculatory attack towards the partner female. Together with those two observations, the activity rhythm, aggressive and learning behaviours were mentioned. Lastly, this species was assessed as a laboratory animal for behavioural studies.