Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 328–332

Life history costs of olfactory status signalling in mice

  • L. M. Gosling
  • S. C. Roberts
  • E. A. Thornton
  • M. J. Andrew
Original Article
  • 188 Downloads

Abstract 

Large body size confers a competitive advantage in animal contests but does not always determine the outcome. Here we explore the trade-off between short-term achievement of high social status and longer-term life history costs in animals which vary in competitive ability. Using laboratory mice, Mus musculus, as a model system, we show that small competitors can initially maintain dominance over larger males by increasing investment in olfactory status signalling (scent-marking), but only at the cost of reduced growth rate and body size. As a result they become more vulnerable to dominance reversals later in life. Our results also provide the first empirical information about life history costs of olfactory status signals.

Key words Status signals Olfaction Life history costs Laboratory mice 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. M. Gosling
    • 1
  • S. C. Roberts
    • 1
  • E. A. Thornton
    • 1
  • M. J. Andrew
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY, UKGB

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