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The Bruce effect revisited

  • Pregnancy termination after encountering a strange male, the Bruce effect, is regarded as a counterstrategy of female mammals towards anticipated infanticide. While confirmed in caged rodent pairs, no verification for the Bruce effect existed from experimental field populations of small rodents. We suggest that the effect may be adaptive for breeding rodent females only under specific conditions related to populations with cyclically fluctuating densities. We investigated the occurrence of delay in birth date after experimental turnover of the breeding male under different population composition in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in large outdoor enclosures: one-male–multiple-females (n = 6 populations/18 females), multiple-males–multiple-females (n = 15/45), and single-male–single-female (MF treatment, n = 74/74). Most delays were observed in the MF treatment after turnover. Parallel we showed in a laboratory experiment (n = 205 females) that overwintered and primiparous females, the most abundant cohort during population lows in thePregnancy termination after encountering a strange male, the Bruce effect, is regarded as a counterstrategy of female mammals towards anticipated infanticide. While confirmed in caged rodent pairs, no verification for the Bruce effect existed from experimental field populations of small rodents. We suggest that the effect may be adaptive for breeding rodent females only under specific conditions related to populations with cyclically fluctuating densities. We investigated the occurrence of delay in birth date after experimental turnover of the breeding male under different population composition in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in large outdoor enclosures: one-male–multiple-females (n = 6 populations/18 females), multiple-males–multiple-females (n = 15/45), and single-male–single-female (MF treatment, n = 74/74). Most delays were observed in the MF treatment after turnover. Parallel we showed in a laboratory experiment (n = 205 females) that overwintered and primiparous females, the most abundant cohort during population lows in the increase phase of cyclic rodent populations, were more likely to delay births after turnover of the male than year-born and multiparous females. Taken together, our results suggest that the Bruce effect may be an adaptive breeding strategy for rodent females in cyclic populations specifically at low densities in the increase phase, when isolated, overwintered animals associate in MF pairs. During population lows infanticide risk and inbreeding risk may then be higher than during population highs, while also the fitness value of a litter in an increasing population is higher. Therefore, the Bruce effect may be adaptive for females during annual population lows in the increase phases, even at the costs of delaying reproduction.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Jana A. EccardORCiDGND, Melanie DammhahnORCiDGND, Hannu Ylönen
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus4-432956
DOI:https://doi.org/10.25932/publishup-43295
ISSN:0029-8549
ISSN:1432-1939
Parent Title (English):Postprints der Universität Potsdam Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Reihe
Subtitle (English):is pregnancy termination in female rodents an adaptation to ensure breeding success after male turnover in low densities?
Series (Serial Number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Reihe (734)
Document Type:Postprint
Language:English
Date of first Publication:2019/08/28
Year of Completion:2017
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2019/08/28
Tag:Myodes voles; breeding strategies; dip test; infanticide; sexual conflict; sexual selection
Issue:734
Pagenumber:14
Source:Oecologia 185 (2017) 1, S. 81–94 DOI: 10.1007/s00442-017-3904-6
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International