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Male meadow vole scent marking 1 rival odor context

Citation

Scauzillo, Ryan (2021), Male meadow vole scent marking 1 rival odor context, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k6djh9w7d

Abstract

Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) rely on olfactory communication, such as scent marking, to find and secure mating opportunities during the breeding season. Scent marks, and odors in general, provide information about the donors and persists in the environment for extended periods, allowing a wide audience. Whether a vole responds to another scent mark(s), or odor(s), depends on the social context and the information the odor provides about the donor(s). Therefore, we examined if male scent marking towards a social odor or female meadow voles is influenced by information present or previously encountered based on contextual differences in the social odor. We presented males with two odor associations of a male with a female with contextual differences in the age of the rival. We tested male scent marking with both the odors present, current information, and with the females from the social information, prior information. It was found that rival male age did not affect the scent marking behavior of males towards a social odor or female voles. Rival male age also did not affect preference as males did not show a preference for either female. The lack of an effect may lie in the properties of scent marks and the natural history of meadow voles during the breeding season. The odor of an individual rival may not represent a strong enough competitional threat to influence a signaler’s decisions, but the association could still provide the signaler with valuable information about which females are consider high-quality.

Methods

Data was analyzed using R version 4.0.5 in Rstudio version 1.4.1106.

Scent marking analysis for the odor present data (control and two male odors) we used a generalized liner mixed model with a negative binomial distribtion with the fixed factors of side of the sides of the apparatus and the random factor of the individual male.

Scent marking analysis for the female present data we used a generalized linear mixed model with a zero inflated distribution with the fixed factors of side of the sides of the apparatus and the random factor of the individual male.

Preference analysis for the females present data we used a one sample t-test. Prefernces were calculated by taking the total time spent near the female whose odor had associated with a younger male divided by the total time spent near each female.

Packages used were lme4, glmmTMB and MASS