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Mastozoología neotropical

Print version ISSN 0327-9383


CODA, José A.; PRIOTTO, José W.  and  STEINMANN, Andrea R.. Behavioral counter-strategies against infanticide in corn mouse females, Calomys musculinus. Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2011, vol.18, n.2, pp.207-215. ISSN 0327-9383.

Based on the hypothesis that in C. musculinus both female territorial behavior and promiscuity are counter-strategies against infanticide by females and males respectively, our objective was to test the following predictions: (1) mother aggression deters infanticide by females; (2) previous matings prevent infanticide by males. We conducted 116 behavioral encounters between mothers and intruders to study the nest related behaviors. Mother-pups units (Mu) were grouped in three treatments in relation to the intruder feature: 55 Mu were placed with siring males, 27 Mu and 34 Mu were housed with non-siring males and reproductively active females, respectively. We also calculated offspring survival rate for each treatment. The nest related behaviors varied among the three groups tested. Mothers showed high rates of aggressive behavior towards females. In presence of siring males mothers remained calm inside the nest. When the intruders were non-siring males mothers exhibited high rates of nest defense behavior. The lowest survival rate was registered in presence of the non-siring males, while the highest rates were registered in presence of females or siring males. The absence of aggressiveness and the high rate of nest defense by mothers against siring and non-siring males respectively, would support that promiscuity acts as a counter-strategy against infanticide by males. Mother aggressive behavior against intruder females would show that female territoriality may be an effective way of pup protection.

Keywords : Rodent; Infanticide; Behavioral strategies; Counter-strategies; Mother aggression.

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