Mice can obtain information about a new food source through olfactory cues of conspecifics and consequently develop an attraction for this diet. The social transmission of food preference (STFP) takes place directly, during an encounter with a conspecific or indirectly, via feces. In indirect STFP, the digestive process can degrade odorant compounds characterizing the food, impairing the matching between feces and food. In a previous study, indirect STFP was efficient when the information support was a composite odorant. We, thus, hypothesized that the acquisition of indirect STFP depends on the multiplicity of the odorant compounds present in diets. Tested in female house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) our results showed that a single odorant compound as information support was not sufficient to induce an indirect STFP. Chemical analysis did not reveal the presence of the compounds in feces suggesting that the degradation of diet cues during the digestive process prevented the pairing between feces and food. By using a process that limits the degradation of molecules, we performed indirect STFP when the pertinent information was represented by a single odorant compound and multiple odorant compounds. Unlike with multiple odorant compounds, our results did not show a clear indirect STFP with single odorant compound, despite their presence in feces confirmed by chemical analysis. We conclude that constraints associated to indirect STFP can be removed by the multiplicity of information characterizing the diet both by reducing the degradation risk during the digestive process and by allowing an accurate assessment of diet consumed by the conspecific.

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