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Life history costs of olfactory status signalling in mice

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Morris Gosling, Dr Craig Roberts

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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.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Roberts SC; Gosling LM; Thornton EA; Andrew MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

Year: 2000

Volume: 48

Issue: 4

Pages: 328-332

Print publication date: 01/01/2000

ISSN (print): 0340-5443

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0762

Publisher: Springer

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s002650000242

DOI: 10.1007/s002650000242


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