Introducing the Mouse Species Ethogram

A species ethogram is a complete list of species-specific behaviors, describing the elements and function of each behavior performed by the animal. Behaviors in the species ethogram may be combined, excluded, or emphasized in the design of ethograms used for particular research questions (such as assaying aggressive behavior, or abnormal behavior). Ethograms are described in more detail in about ethograms; and ethograms specific to particular research questions, and protocols for different assays are outlined in methods and protocols. The general organization of each behavior page is described in Understanding behavior pages.


Here we list an abbreviated ethogram of top-level behavioral classifications (the full ethogram lists roughly 100 behaviors). Each category will expand as you explore it. Alternatively, you can view the complete ethogram in the Ethogram Index.

The Mouse Ethogram - Top Level Behaviors

Some Further Subtleties

This ethogram is a consensus of previously published partial ethograms (detailed in Ethogram Comparison). Because an ethogram can be reorganized according to the research question, there's no 'right' way to organized the behaviors in an ethogram. Here we list behaviors according to their circadian rhythm, or their typical sequence of occurrence within a subcategory.


However we could equally well have split behaviors in social and asocial categories, which would have meant that some behaviors would be classified under different headings (for instance group sleeping can be organized under inactive or under affiliative interactions), or any one of many other organizational schemes (for instance, agonistic interactions are organized by their sequence here, but could have equally well been organized by their function, as is described in escalated aggression and mediated aggression). The pages for overall classes of behavior indicate when this is the case.


Alternative classifications and groupings of behaviors, or general topics in organizing behavior are outlined in grouping behaviors. Behaviors which do not fit well in this classification, which are unclear in their meaning from the original authors, or which have been described under multiple contexts, are listed under miscellaneous behaviors.