Reproduction, ageing, and longevity in two species of laboratory rodents with different life histories
- 118 Downloads
Social subterranean rodents of the Bathyergidae family are known to have extended longevity and some signs of negligible senescence, although the manifestation of these traits depends on the reproductive status of individuals. Such enormous life history peculiarities are usually explained by the specificity of a subterranean way of life. If so, all subterranean rodents, regardless of their taxonomic position, are expected to have higher maximum lifespans and shorter senescence periods than the related above-ground species. In this study we compared the mortality rates and age-related reproductive activity and physical conditions in two sympatric rodents of the Cricetidae family: subterranean mole voles and above-ground dwarf hamsters. Mole voles have a maximum lifespan that is as high as two times the maximum lifespan of the dwarf hamsters; however, only a few mole voles outlasted the maximum lifespan of dwarf hamsters. Dwarf hamsters were generally more fecund than mole voles, which manifests both in a higher number of litters and larger litter sizes. Neither species demonstrated a significant age-related decline in litter size or muscle strength, although there were negative trends for dwarf hamsters. We conclude that some evidence of extended longevity and slow ageing do occur in mole voles, but due to the relatively short “subterranean” phylogenetic history of the species, this evidence is not as pronounced as in the social species of Bathyergidae family.
KeywordsAgeing Longevity Life history Reproduction Physical conditions Rodents
The study was supported by the Federal Program of Fundamental Scientific Studies 2013–2020 (VI.51.1.6) and the Russian Foundation for Basal Research, Grants Number 13-04-01045, 16-04-00888; 16-04-00479.
Compliance with ethical standards
Keeping conditions were adjusted to the biology of each species to minimise the harmful and stressfull effects of trapping and caging. Climatic regimes in both rooms were comfortable for the animals; conventional diet was balanced and included all the nutrients essential for the normal grows and development. The rooms were periodically sterilised by quartz lamp. We did not disturb the animals without the reason. If died, individuals were carefully removed from the cages. All manipulations with the animals were performed with care and according to local and national legal requirements. The Experimental protocol conforms to the provisions of the Declaration of Helsinki.
- Buffenstein R (2000) Ecophysiological responses of subterranean rodents to underground habitats. In: Lacey EA, Patton JL, Cameron GN (eds) Life underground: the biology of subterranean rodents. University of Chicago Press, Illinois, pp 62–110Google Scholar
- Carnes BA, Riesch R, Schlupp I (2011) The delayed impact of parental age on offspring mortality in mice. J Gerontol Ser A 67:351–357Google Scholar
- Dammann P, Burda H (2007) Senescence patterns in African mole-rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia). In: Begall S, Burda H, Schleich CE (eds) Subterranean rodents: news from underground. Springer, Berlin, pp 49–60Google Scholar
- Feoktistova NY (2008) Dwarf hamsters (Phodopus: Cricetidae): systematics, phylogeography, ecology, physiology, behaviour, chemical communication. KMK Scientific press Ltd, Moscow (in Russian) Google Scholar
- Novikov EA, Petrovski DV, Moshkin MP (2007) Features of the population structure of mole voles at the north-eastern periphery of the species habitat. Contemp Probl Ecol 4:669–676Google Scholar