Studying the association between fitness and cognition in free-living animals is a fundamental step in the elucidation of the evolution of cognition. We assessed whether survival until the onset of the breeding season was related to reaction time or spatial memory in the African striped mouse Rhabdomys pumilio, a rodent that has to survive summer drought before breeding. We tested a total of 90 individuals at the beginning of summer. Female survival was related to a faster response to predation stimuli. Male survival increased with greater spatial memory, possibly because it is important for males to remember the configuration of the environment during dispersal. This study revealed that individual variation in reaction time and spatial memory can be related to survival probability, which is important for understanding the selection pressures acting on basic cognitive traits.
- Received April 25, 2016.
- Accepted July 13, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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