Effects of fitch odor (Mustila eversmanni) on behavior and breeding of root voles (Microtus oeconomus)
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From April to December in 1997 at Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Science, the effect of predation risk on social behavior, feeding, reproduction and sexual hormones of the root voles (Microtus oeconomus) was studied when the root voles (Microtus oeconomus) were exposed to the odor of fitch (Mustila eversmanni). The results showed that the root voles delayed breeding period and the frequency of the copulation significantly lowered (P<0.01). Comparing with the control group, the accumulated time of amicable behavior in females, and general activity of both sexes increased significantly (P<0.01). The frequencies of general activity (P<0.01), investigating activity (females:P<0.05, males:P<0.01), and self-grooming (P<0.01) of both sexes were less significantly. At the same time, the amount of energy intake (P<0.05) and body weight (P<0.01) of the root voles decreased significantly. The litter weight and ovary index of females decreased (P<0.01). For males the sperm count in epididymides also decreased significantly (P<0.01). The progesterone in the blood serum of root voles females increased significantly under fitch odor (P<0.01).
Key wordsFitch (Mustela eversmanni) Root voles (Microtus oeconomus) Behavior Breeding
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