Document Detail

Does fertility trump monogamy?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20823948     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Monogamous animals face an interesting dilemma: if and when to terminate a nonproductive relationship. To address this issue, we asked whether reproductive compatibility is a criterion for maintaining a monogamous pair-bond between mates. Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster), are small rodents that form long-term, monogamous pair-bonds evidenced by a strong preference for their familiar partners, and thus are an excellent model animal in which to study mate-fidelity. Accordingly, we examined partner-preferences by male prairie voles and related their behavior to the reproductive status of their mates. We found that, when given a choice between their familiar female partner and a stranger, male prairie voles differ in their responses depending on the pregnancy status of the partner. Males that were paired with females for two weeks displayed mate-fidelity only when mating had been initiated within ~48 hours after pairing. In contrast, males whose mates experienced a delay in the onset of sexual receptivity displayed non-selective affiliative behavior. We also found that, in addition to being appropriately timed, mating must be successful. Males that mated with ovariectomized females for whom pregnancy was precluded did not display mate-fidelity even though mating was initiated within the proper timeframe. These observations of mate-fidelity only when the partner's pregnancy was sufficiently advanced relative to the duration of the pairing suggest that mating must be both successful and timely. Thus, reproductive compatibility can influence mate-fidelity.
J Thomas Curtis
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Publication Detail:
Journal Detail:
Title:  Animal behaviour     Volume:  80     ISSN:  0003-3472     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2010 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-9-8     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376746     Medline TA:  Anim Behav     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  319-328     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.
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Grant Support
R01 HD048462-04//NICHD NIH HHS

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