PubAg

Main content area

Age Affects Over-Marking of Opposite-Sex Scent Marks in Meadow Voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus

Author:
Ferkin, Michael H.
Source:
Ethology 2010 v.116 no.1 pp. 24-31
ISSN:
0179-1613
Subject:
Microtus pennsylvanicus, adults, females, gender differences, life history, meadows, models, odors, voles
Abstract:
Models of age-related effects on behavior predict that among short-lived species younger adults are more attractive and attracted to opposite-sex conspecifics than are older adults, whereas the converse is predicted for long-lived species. Although most studies of age-related effects on behavior support these predictions, they are not supported by many studies of scent marking, a behavior used in mate attraction. Over-marking, a form of scent marking, is a tactic used by many terrestrial mammals to convey information about themselves to opposite-sex conspecifics. The present study tested the hypothesis that the age of meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus; a microtine rodent, affects their over- and scent-marking behaviors when they encounter the marks of opposite-sex conspecifics. Sex differences existed in the over-marking behavior of adult voles among the three different age groups that were tested. Male voles that were 5-7 and 10-12 mo olds over-marked a higher proportion of the marks of females than did 2-3 mo old male voles. Female voles that were 2-3, 5-7, and 10-12 mo old over-marked a similar number of marks deposited by male voles. Overall, the data were not consistent with models predicting the behavior of short-lived animals such as rodents when they encounter the opposite sex. The differences in over-marking displayed by older and younger adult male voles may be associated with life history tradeoffs, the likelihood that they will encounter sexually receptive females, and being selected as mates.
Agid:
638308