The effects of cues from Kingsnakes on the reproductive effort of house mice


It is not clear if rodents express inducible defenses in response to reptilian predators such as snakes. We tested the hypothesis that adult house mice Mus musculus decrease aspects of their reproductive effort upon 1 hour of exposure every 48 hours for a 25-day period to the fecal material and shed skins of a euryphagous ophidian predator, the kingsnake Lampropeltis getula, that had been fed mice. We found no significant differences in the total number of offspring born, the number of pups per litter, and the mean weight of pups in litters born to male and female mice that were exposed to predator cues and those mice that were not exposed to such cues. The lack of an inducible response may be associated with the low cost of an effective defense, or the lack of an effective defense against a generalist snake predator. © 2013 Current Zoology.

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Current Zoology