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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 27(3)

Efficiency of delayed reproduction in Mus spicilegus

Marie Lafaille A, Patrick Gouat A and Christophe Féron A B

A Laboratoire d’Ethologie Expérimentale et Comparée, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Nord, F-93430 Villetaneuse, France.
B Corresponding author. Email: cferon@leec.univ-paris13.fr

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 27(3) 491-496 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RD13130
Submitted: 2 May 2013  Accepted: 13 December 2013   Published: 15 January 2014

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To cope with seasonally varying ecological constraints, some mammals temporally suppress breeding or delay their first reproduction. In field conditions, mound-building mice (Mus spicilegus) born in spring begin to reproduce when 2–3 months old, whereas individuals born at the end of summer delay their first reproduction for 6–8 months until the following spring. In order to test age effects on reproductive performance in M. spicilegus, sexually naïve mice were paired when 2–3 months old or at 6–8 months of age, and surveyed for reproduction. We show here that under laboratory conditions the aging of these mice does not impair their reproductive efficiency. Thus, the hypothesis of a lower reproductive potential in these relatively aged females seems to be contradicted. More surprisingly, the latency from pairing to the first reproduction was greater in the 2–3-month-old adults than in the delayed reproducers (6–8-month-old mice). Mound-building mice that are old enough to have overwintered do not suffer significant reproductive declines, but appear to reproduce as well and more quickly than younger first-time breeders.

Additional keywords: aged-related-changes, first-time breeders, litter size, wild-type rodent.


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