Mammalian Biology

, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 221–224 | Cite as

Maternal energetic investment in a monogamous mouse

  • Davy Ung
  • Christophe Féron
  • Mirabelle Gouat
  • Simone Demouron
  • Patrick GouatEmail author
Short Communication


Concurrent gestation and lactation is costly and rodent females may manage their reproductive effort by adjusting the length of the inter-litter latency. In this study, we attempted to build a model of this phenomenon as a function of maternal condition and energetic investment (measured as the litter size and weight) in the mound-building mouse, Mus spicilegus. We analysed the distributions of two successive inter-litter latencies using linear models. These distributions revealed a high inter-individual variability in latencies (22–38 d). Our results showed that none of the parameters reflecting female investment could explain this variability. The only link revealed by our analyses was a significant positive correlation between two successive inter-litter latencies. These results suggested that other parameters were involved in the regulation of inter-litter latencies. We propose that paternal care, which has a direct effect on inter-litter latency, may play a major role by allowing females to save energy or through differential allocation. In addition, genetic characteristics of the females and the prenatal environment of the female should also be considered.


Mus spicilegus Reproduction Female investment Inter-litter latency 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andersson, C.B., Gustafsson, T.O., 1979. Delayed implantation in lactating bank voles, Clethrionomys glareolus.J. Reprod. Fert. 57, 349–352.Google Scholar
  2. Busquet, N., Leveillé Nizerole, C., Féron, C., 2009. What triggers reproductive life? Effects of adolescent cohabitation, social novelty and aggression in a monogamous mouse. Ethology 115, 87–95.Google Scholar
  3. Cantoni, D., Brown, R.E., 1997. Male parental investment and female reproductive success in the California mouse, Peromyscus californicus. Anim. Behav. 54, 377–386.Google Scholar
  4. Clark, M., Galef Jr., B.G., 1995. Prenatal influences on reproductive life history strategies. Trends Ecol. Evol. 10, 151–153.Google Scholar
  5. Dobson, F.S., Risch, T.S., Murie, J.O., 1999. Increasing returns in the life history of Columbian ground squirrels. J. Anim. Ecol. 68, 62–75.Google Scholar
  6. Féron, C., Gheusi, G., 2003. Social regulation of reproduction in the female moundbuilder mouse (Mus spicilegus). Physiol. Behav. 78, 717–722.Google Scholar
  7. Féron, C., Gouat, P., 2007. Paternal care in the mound-building mouse reduces interlitter intervals. Reprod. Fertil. Dev. 19, 425–429.Google Scholar
  8. Franceschini-Zink, C., Millesi, E., 2008. Reproductive performance in female common hamsters. Zoology (Jena) 111, 76–83.Google Scholar
  9. Gouat, P., Féron, C., 2005. Deficit in reproduction in polygynously mated females of the monogamous mound-building mouse Mus spicilegus. Reprod. Fertil. Dev. 17, 617–623.Google Scholar
  10. Gouat, P., Katona, K., Poteaux, C., 2003. Is the socio-spatial distribution of mound-building mice, Mus spicilegus, compatible with a monogamous mating system? Mammalia 67, 15–24.Google Scholar
  11. Hackländer, K., Arnold, W., 1999. Male-caused failure of female reproduction and its adaptative value in alpine marmots (Marmota marmota). Behav. Ecol. 10, 592–597.Google Scholar
  12. Johnson, M.S., Thomson, S.C., Speakman, J.R., 2001a. Limits to sustained energy intake II. Inter-relationships between resting metabolic rate, life-history traits and morphology in Mus musculus.J. Exp. Biol. 204, 1937–1946.Google Scholar
  13. Johnson, M.S., Thomson, S.C., Speakman, J.R., 2001b. Limits to sustained energy intake. III. Effects of concurrent pregnancy and lactation in Mus musculus. J. Exp. Biol. 204, 1947–1956.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, M.S., Speakman, J.R., 2001. Limits to sustained energy intake. V. Effect of cold-exposure during lactation in Mus musculus. J. Exp. Biol. 204, 1967–1977.Google Scholar
  15. Koivula, M.K.E., Mappes, T., Oksanen, T.A., 2003. Cost of reproduction in the wild: manipulation of reproductive effort in the bank vole. Ecology 84, 398–405.Google Scholar
  16. Mantalenakis, S.J., Ketchel, M.M., 1966. Frequency and extent of delayed implantation in lactating rats and mice. J. Reprod. Fert. 12, 391–394.Google Scholar
  17. Mappes, T., Ylönen, H., 1997. Reproductive effort of female bank voles in a risky environment. Evol. Ecol. 11, 591–598.Google Scholar
  18. Mc Lnroy, J.K., Brousmiche, D.G., Wynne-Edwards, K.E., 2000. Fathers, fat, and maternal energetics in a biparental hamster, paternal presence determines the outcome of a current reproductive effort and adipose tissue limits subsequent reproductive effort. Horm. Behav. 37,399-409.Google Scholar
  19. Milishnikov, A.N., Rafiev, A.N., Muntianu, A.I., 1998. Genotypic variability in populations of moundbuilder mice Mus spicilegus Pet., 1882, at different life-cycle stages. Russ. J. Genet. 34, 785–790.Google Scholar
  20. Millesi, E., Huber, S., Everts, L.G., Dittami, J.P., 1999. Reproductive decisions in female European ground squirrels: factors affecting reproductive output and maternal investment. Ethology 105,163-175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ostfeld, R.S., 1990. Females in space and time. Trends Ecol Evol. 5, 411–415.Google Scholar
  22. Patris, B., Baudoin, C., 2000. A comparative study of parental care between two rodent species, implications for the mating system of the mound-building mouse Mus spicilegus. Behav. Process. 51, 35–43.Google Scholar
  23. Ratikainen, I.I., Kokko, H., 2010. Differential allocation and compensation: who deserves the silver spoon? Behav. Ecol 21, 195–200.Google Scholar
  24. Rehling, A., Trillmich, F., 2008. Maternal effort is state dependent: energetic limitation or regulation? Ethology 114, 318–326.Google Scholar
  25. Risch, T.S., Michener, G.R., Dobson, F.S., 2007. Variation in litter size: a test of hypotheses in Richardson’s ground squirrels. Ecology 88, 306–314.Google Scholar
  26. Rödel, H.G., Bora, A., Kaetzke, P., Khaschei, M., Hutzelmeyer, H.D., Zapka, M., von Holst, D., 2005. Timing of breeding and reproductive performance of female European rabbits in response to winter temperature and body mass. Can. J. Zool. 83, 935–942.Google Scholar
  27. Rogowitz, G.L., 1996. Trade-offs in energy allocation during lactation. Am. Zool. 36, 197–204.Google Scholar
  28. Rogowitz, G.L., Mc Clure, P.A., 1995. Energy export and offspring growth during lactation in cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus). Funct. Ecol. 9,143-150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ryan, B.C., Vandenbergh, J.G., 2002. Intrauterine position effects. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 26, 665–678.Google Scholar
  30. Sabau, R.M., Ferkin, M.H., 2013. Food deprivation and restriction during late gestation affect the sexual behavior of postpartum female meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus. Ethology 119, 29–38.Google Scholar
  31. Sokolov, V.E., Kotenkova, E.V., Michailenko, A.G., 1998. Mus spicilegus. Mamm. Species 592, 1–6.Google Scholar
  32. Weir, B.J., Rowlands, I.W., 1973. Reproductive strategies of mammals. Annu. Rev. Ecol. System. 4, 139–163.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Davy Ung
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christophe Féron
    • 1
  • Mirabelle Gouat
    • 3
  • Simone Demouron
    • 1
  • Patrick Gouat
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Éthologie Expérimentale et Comparée EA 4443Université Paris 13VilletaneuseFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Éthologie et Cognition Comparées, EA 3456Université Paris Ouest Nanterre-La DéfenseFrance
  3. 3.Centre d’Études Biologiques de ChizéUPR CNRS 1934Beauvoir sur NiortFrance

Personalised recommendations