Behaviour 2019
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Sensory Modality Bias in Three-banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus)
Joy Vincent, Jennifer Vonk. Oakland University, Rochester, MI, United States

Our current understanding of armadillos’ sensory system is that they have a degenerate visual system, which they compensate for with a strong sense of smell. Additionally, many armadillo species have impressive navigation abilities, demonstrated through their ability to relocate burrows and find immediate safe cover when foraging. We examined which modality—olfaction or spatial cues— three-banded armadillos were more reliant on by training four armadillos to associate one of two compound stimuli (each consisting of one location and one scent cue) with a food reward. Upon reaching criterion (selecting the rewarding stimuli in 80% of trials over four consecutive sessions), individuals were tested with probe trials wherein the olfactory and spatial cues were put in conflict with each other. On these trials, the armadillos consistently chose the S+ location that was associated with the S- scent, suggesting that the location was the more salient element of the compound stimulus. Plans for future studies on scent discrimination will be discussed, along with implications for captive welfare.