Title

Responses of meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, to areas containing over-marks and single scent marks of two opposite-sex conspecifics

Abstract

How an individual responds to scent marks and the information they receive from them may be affected by whether the scent marks are encountered singly or as part of an overmark, two overlapping scent marks. We tested the hypothesis that meadow voles that have encountered an area containing over-marks and single scent marks from two conspecifics respond preferentially to the donor that was last to deposit its scent marks compared to the donor that was first to deposit its scent marks. Males spent more time investigating the mark of the second female-scent donor than that of the first female-scent donor after they encountered 60% over-marks and 40% single scent marks from these donors. Females spent more time investigating the scent mark of the second male-scent donor than that of the first male-scent donor after they encountered at least 40% over-marks and 60% single marks. Interestingly, the proportions of over-marks that male and female voles needed to encounter to display a preference for the mark of the second scent donor over that of the second scent donor were similar to the proportion of scent marks males and females use to over-mark the scent marks of a same-sex conspecific. © 2011 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.

Publication Title

Behaviour

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