Evol Ecol Res 8: 859-869 (2006) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Metabolic costs of sexual advertisement in the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus)
Jacek Radwan,1* Magdalena Chadzińska,2 Mariusz Cichoń,1 Suzanne C. Mills,3 Beata Matuła,1 Edyta T. Sadowska,1 Katarzyna Baliga,1 Anna Stanisz,1 Sylwia Łopuch1 and Paweł Koteja1
1Institute of Environmental Sciences, 2Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland and 3Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
Address all correspondence to Jacek Radwan, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, ul. Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland.
Hypothesis: Sexual traits serve as honest signals of male quality because they are costly.
Question: Is olfactory signalling costly?
Organism: Bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) from generations 3–5 of a large laboratory colony reared from individuals trapped in the field.
Methods: We investigated the energetic and immune costs of male investment in olfactory signalling in the bank vole. The mass of the preputial gland, the main source of male sexual attractants, was a measure of investment in sexual signalling. We measured male basal metabolic rate both before and after pairing with females and exposure to conspecific males. After pairing, we also challenged males with a novel antigen (sheep red blood cells) and measured their antibody production.
Results: Preputial gland mass did not correlate with basal metabolic rate before pairing (both traits corrected for body mass). After pairing, basal metabolic rate increased significantly and the increase was significantly correlated with preputial gland size. Gland size was not significantly related to a humoral immune response following a challenge with sheep red blood cells.
Conclusion: Olfactory signalling in the bank vole is associated with energetic, but not immune, costs.
Keywords: chemical communication, mate choice, scent marking, sexual selection, social dominance.
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