Acoustic startle response in the opossum Monodelphis domestica in comparison with the wistar albino rat
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The acoustic startle response (ASR) was studied in 20 gray short-tailed opossums (Monodelphis domestica) and its characteristics were compared with those obtained from responses of 20 Wistar albino rats. The animals were exposed to 10 ms, 110 dB white noise acoustic pulses in the Coulbourn apparatus. Amplitude of ASR was normalized to the weight of animals and then analyzed. The results show that probability of a freezing response is much higher in the opossums that generally respond with lower startle amplitudes in comparison to rats. These differences may reflect different emotional characteristics of the two species, different reactions to fear in opossum and/or different ecological specializations of the two species.
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Janusz W. B?aszczyk, Departament of Neurophysiology and Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology. Warsaw, Poland