Allo-grooming - Vigorous
Overview and Meaning
Vigorous allo-grooming is an affiliative interaction that strengthens social bonds among cagemates and assists the animal in obtaining information for about sources.
Vigorous allo-grooming is characterized by a more intense form of grooming between two or more mice. During this interaction, an actor pins and firmly grips the recipient. Similar to normal allo-grooming, the actor will mouth and lick the recipient, but grooming is usually more localized to the shoulder region, with a higher incidence of teeth hair pulling.
Vigorous allo-grooming can be distinguished from other grooming behaviors as follows:
- Grooming is an important part of maintenance behavior. Individual grooming follows a specific and thorough sequence, with little variation. In comparison, social grooming is not a thorough whole body cleaning; rather, it is a thorough cleaning that is localized in specific areas of a recipient's body: body trunk, shoulder region and back of head. These also happen to be the areas that are more difficult for an individual mouse to clean by itself.
- The easiest way to differentiate between normal and vigorous allo-grooming is by looking at the recipient's behavior. In normal allo-grooming, the recipient will usually be preoccupied with something else in the cage and may even move around while being groomed. However, during vigorous allo-grooming, a recipient will remain rigid and usually motionless.
Affiliative interactions, variant of Allo-grooming
Affilative behaviors are social interactions that function to reinforce social bonds with a group or which are of mutual benefit to all animals involved in the interaction.