Food-deprivation-induced changes in sexual behaviour of meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus


Food availability affects the reproductive performance of many animals. However, the majority of knowledge pertaining to food-deprivation-induced behavioural changes stems from a few model species. We investigated the effects of food deprivation on the sexual behaviour of male and female meadow voles using a three-component model that included attractivity, proceptivity and receptivity. In both males and females, proceptivity and receptivity were inhibited by food deprivations that lasted 6 h. Attractivity in females was inhibited after 24 h of food deprivation, whereas attractivity of males did not appear to be affected at any duration of food deprivation tested. Both male and female proceptivity were attenuated by food deprivations of 6 h and longer. Finally, female receptivity was inhibited by food deprivations of 6 h or longer. The data support the metabolic fuels hypothesis in females and partially support the metabolic fuels hypothesis in males. Short-term (6-12 h) and moderate (18-24 h) interruptions in food availability had inhibitory effects on all components of sexual behaviour in female meadow voles but not on proceptivity and receptivity in male meadow voles. © 2005 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Animal Behaviour