Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Paternal care in the mound-building mouse reduces inter-litter intervals

Christophe Féron A B and Patrick Gouat A

A LEEC CNRS UMR 7153, Université Paris 13, F-93430 Villetaneuse, France.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 19(3) 425-429
Submitted: 31 October 2006  Accepted: 15 December 2006   Published: 14 March 2007


In many rodent species males display paternal behaviour. The primary reported effect of this paternal care is to increase pup survival. In mammal females, pregnancy and lactation are energetically demanding, especially when they are concurrent in post-partum reproduction. To face this energy requirement, females generally lengthen the duration of their post-partum pregnancy. In the present study we tested whether paternal care could affect this duration in the monogamous mound building mouse Mus spicilegus. In this species, females have a short reproductive life that does not exceed 4 months. Reduction of inter-delivery latencies would then be an efficient way to increase reproductive success. In a male removal experiment, we showed that inter-delivery latency was shortened by male presence. Moreover, behavioural estimations of paternal involvement were correlated with inter-delivery latency. The longer the male spent inside the nest the shorter the inter-delivery latency. In the mound-building mouse, the female might be able to monopolise the parental care of a single male, which could be important for the evolution of monogamy. The characteristics of first reproduction as compared to post-partum reproduction suggest that it may contribute to the formation of a strong and exclusive social bond between the reproductive partners.

Additional keywords: frequency of reproduction, monogamy, Mus spicilegus.


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