Dietary protein content affects the response of meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, to over-marks

Nicholas J. Hobbs, Michael H. Ferkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The response to signals, including scent marks, from opposite-sex conspecifics can be affected by the nutritional state of both the sender and receiver of these signals. Protein content of the diet affects how meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) respond to single scent marks, but it is unknown how it affects an individual's response to the overlapping scent marks of two donors (an over-mark). In experiment 1, we tested the hypothesis that protein content of the diet affects the amount of time voles spend investigating the marks of the top- and bottom-scent donors of an over-mark. Males and females fed a 22% protein diet spent more time investigating the scent mark of the top-scent donor than that of the bottom-scent donor; voles fed 9% and 13% protein diets spent similar amounts of time investigating the top- and bottom-scent donors. In experiment 2, we tested the hypothesis that protein content of the diet of the top- and bottom-scent donors affects the amount of time conspecifics spend investigating their scent marks. Female voles spent more time investigating the mark of the top-scent male than that of the bottom-scent male, independent of the differences in protein content of the diets of the top- and bottom-scent donors. Male voles, however, spent more time investigating the top-scent female when she was fed a diet higher in protein content than that of the bottom-scent female. Our results are discussed within the context of the natural history of voles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalActa Ethologica
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

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Microtus pennsylvanicus
dietary protein
meadow
odors
protein content
diet
protein
experiment
history

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Dietary protein
  • Meadow vole
  • Over-mark

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Dietary protein content affects the response of meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, to over-marks. / Hobbs, Nicholas J.; Ferkin, Michael H.

In: Acta Ethologica, Vol. 14, No. 2, 01.10.2011, p. 57-64.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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