Mice are not little rats: species differences in a one-day water maze task

Neuroreport. 2000 Nov 9;11(16):3461-5. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200011090-00013.


The present study examined species differences in spatial and non-spatial memory in the Morris water maze. Male Wistar rats and C57BL/6 mice were tested in a one-day water maze task in which spatial learning, retention, and non-spatial learning were assessed within 3 h. Rats and mice appeared to use different strategies for locating the hidden escape platform. Whereas rats evinced a clear spatial strategy, mice appeared to rely less on spatial cues and more on alternative non-spatial strategies. The sensitivity of this behavioral protocol to subtle species differences highlights the potential use of this one-day water maze task as a tool for evaluating rapidly learning and memory in rodents.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Male
  • Maze Learning*
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Space Perception
  • Species Specificity
  • Swimming
  • Time Factors