Navigation Links
City rats loyal to their 'hoods, scientists discover
Date:5/27/2009

In the rat race of life, one thing is certain: there's no place like home.

Now, a study published this week in the journal Molecular Ecology finds the same is as true for rats as for humans.

Although inner city rodents appear to roam freely, most form distinct neighborhoods where they spend the majority of their lives.

Like any major city, Baltimore, Md., has many lively neighborhoods--each with its own personality. But scientists from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health say humans aren't the only Baltimoreans loyal to their 'hoods.

Rats typically stay close to home, rarely venturing more than a city block away. In the face of danger, however, some rodents can travel as far as seven miles to repopulate abandoned areas.

An understanding of how rats in urban areas are connected provides information about which populations may spread disease, according to Sam Scheiner, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research through the joint NSF-National Institutes of Health Ecology of Infectious Diseases program.

Baltimore's port was a once major delivery point for grain, likely how Norway rats were first introduced to the city. Norway rats, also called wharf rats, sewer rats or brown rats, can weigh nearly two pounds and transmit a variety of diseases to humans.

Despite expensive eradication efforts, the number of rats in Baltimore has remained unchanged over the past 50 years, says scientist Greg Glass of Johns Hopkins, who co-authored the Molecular Ecology paper with other researchers from Johns Hopkins and the Yale University School of Medicine.

To understand why, researchers trapped nearly 300 rats from 11 residential areas of Baltimore and conducted genetic studies to see how the rats were related. The scientists found that East Baltimore rats are separated from their unrelated West-side counterparts by a large waterway known as Jones Falls.

Within these hemispheres, rat families form smaller communities of about 11 city blocks. Each community is further divided into neighborhoods that span little more than the length of an average alley. To a city rat, that alley is home sweet home.

The findings suggest that while rats rarely migrate, neighborhood eradication efforts may backfire by encouraging the rodents to repopulate other areas and further spread disease. When you smell a rat, the researchers say, the best solution may be to tackle the problem on a much larger scale--perhaps by targeting entire families at once.

Rat race won.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Opposites attract -- how genetics influences humans to choose their mates
2. The importance of being helpful -- Cooperative cichlids boost their own reproductive success
3. Athletes with asthma need more help from their team trainers
4. Our brains make their own marijuana: Were all pot heads deep inside
5. Food security for leaf-cutting ants: Workers and their fungus garden reject endophyte invaders
6. Genes that make bacteria make up their minds
7. Children who are dissatisfied with their appearance often have problems with their peer group
8. Female mammals follow their noses to the right mates
9. Female birds jam their mates flirtatious songs
10. Caltech and UCSD researchers shed light on how proteins find their shapes
11. Why dont more animals change their sex?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
City rats loyal to their 'hoods, scientists discover
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec 15, 2016 ... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... offering. The report forecasts the global military biometrics market ... The report has been prepared based on an in-depth market ... and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 15, 2016  There is much more ... or starting the engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence ... Las Vegas . Through the combination of the ... Entry) and biometric elements, the international technology company is ... personalization and authentication. "The integration of biometric ...
(Date:12/12/2016)...  Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin, are opening ... the material with Silly Putty. The mixture (known as ... to sense pulse, blood pressure, respiration, and even ... The research team,s findings were published Thursday ... http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... Md. , Jan. 18, 2017  Northwest Biotherapeutics, ... developing DCVax® personalized immune therapies for operable and inoperable ... Bosch , Chief Technical Officer of NW Bio, will ... January 19, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in ... Bosch will chair the session entitled "New Therapeutic Approaches ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: BDX ), a ... live webcast of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders on Tuesday, January ... can be accessed from the BD corporate website at http://www.bd.com/investors/ ... ... BD is a global medical technology company that is ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... According to a new market research report "In situ Hybridization Market ... User (Molecular Diagnostic Laboratories, Academic and Research Institutions) - Global Forecast to 2021" ... 2021 from USD 557.1 Million in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 5.8%. ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017 Applied BioMath ... modeling to drug research and development, today announced ... President, and CEO of Applied BioMath, will present ... and Modeling (BAGIM) Meeting on Thursday January 19, ... Cambridge , MA.   Dr. Burke,s talk "Quantitative ...
Breaking Biology Technology: