UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Kin-preferential cooperation, dominance-dependent reproductive skew, and competition for mates in communally nesting female house mice.


Rusu, A; Krackow, S (2004). Kin-preferential cooperation, dominance-dependent reproductive skew, and competition for mates in communally nesting female house mice. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 56(3):298-305.

Abstract

Little is known about the behavioural mechanisms facilitating kin-preferential communal breeding in wild house mice (Mus domesticus). We evaluated the effect of kinship and male availability on aggression,
social structure and reproductive skew in groups of female mice freely interacting and reproducing in seminatural indoor enclosures. Triplets of either sisters or nonsisters were established in enclosures provided with either one or three littermate males, which were unrelated and unfamiliar to the females. Sisters were more spatially associated and less aggressive than non-sisters, leading to
higher incidences of communal breeding and reproduction. This is in agreement with theoretical considerations on kin selection in house mice. Reproductive success was highly skewed in favour of dominant females due to subordinate infertility or complete loss of first litters, which might have been caused by dominant females. In spite of this, subordinates only rarely dispersed from the
enclosures, suggesting that perceived dispersal risk generally outweighed relatively reduced reproductive potentials.
Aggression levels among females were significantly higher when one male was available, compared to when three males were available. We suggest that this might result from higher female-female competition for mates, due to the risk of missing fertilisation when synchronously oestrous females encounter limited numbers of males in a deme. Our results indicate that, first, communal nursing in house mice might have evolved to ‘make the best out of a bad job’ rather than to enhance offspring fitness; and, second, that female-female matecompetition might play an important role in shaping female social structure in this polygynous mammal.

Little is known about the behavioural mechanisms facilitating kin-preferential communal breeding in wild house mice (Mus domesticus). We evaluated the effect of kinship and male availability on aggression,
social structure and reproductive skew in groups of female mice freely interacting and reproducing in seminatural indoor enclosures. Triplets of either sisters or nonsisters were established in enclosures provided with either one or three littermate males, which were unrelated and unfamiliar to the females. Sisters were more spatially associated and less aggressive than non-sisters, leading to
higher incidences of communal breeding and reproduction. This is in agreement with theoretical considerations on kin selection in house mice. Reproductive success was highly skewed in favour of dominant females due to subordinate infertility or complete loss of first litters, which might have been caused by dominant females. In spite of this, subordinates only rarely dispersed from the
enclosures, suggesting that perceived dispersal risk generally outweighed relatively reduced reproductive potentials.
Aggression levels among females were significantly higher when one male was available, compared to when three males were available. We suggest that this might result from higher female-female competition for mates, due to the risk of missing fertilisation when synchronously oestrous females encounter limited numbers of males in a deme. Our results indicate that, first, communal nursing in house mice might have evolved to ‘make the best out of a bad job’ rather than to enhance offspring fitness; and, second, that female-female matecompetition might play an important role in shaping female social structure in this polygynous mammal.

Citations

34 citations in Web of Science®
35 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Zoology (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2004
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5443
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s00265-004-0787-4

Download

Full text not available from this repository.View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations