Present addresses: D. N. Lee, Department of Biology, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, University of Missouri, St Louis, MO 63121, USA; S. T. Leonard, LSU Health Sciences Center, Department of Pharmacology, 1901 Perdido ST, MEB 7103, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.
The Reproductive State of Female Voles Affects their Scent Marking Behavior and the Responses of Male Conspecifics to Such Marks
Article first published online: 21 APR 2004
Volume 110, Issue 4, pages 257–272, April 2004
How to Cite
Ferkin, M. H., Lee, D. N. and Leonard, S. T. (2004), The Reproductive State of Female Voles Affects their Scent Marking Behavior and the Responses of Male Conspecifics to Such Marks. Ethology, 110: 257–272. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.2004.00961.x
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2004
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2004
- Received: April 28, 2003 Initial acceptance: August 12, 2003 Final acceptance: August 16, 2003 (S. Forbes)
During the breeding season, the reproductive condition of female mammals changes. Females may or may not be sexually receptive. We conducted a series of experiments to determine whether reproductive condition of female meadow voles affects their scent marking behavior as well as the scent marking behavior of male conspecifics. In expt 1, females in postpartum estrus (PPE females) deposited more scent marks than females that were neither pregnant nor lactating (REF females) or ovariectomized females (OVX females). In expt 2, male voles scent marked more and deposited more over-marks in areas marked by PPE females than by REF and OVX females. In expt 3, PPE females deposited more scent marks and over-marks in areas marked by males than did females in the other reproductive states. The results of these experiments showed that male and female voles may vary in the number, type and location of scent marks they deposit in areas scented by particular conspecifics.