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.
e-mail: radwan@eko.uj.edu.pl


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.

IF you are connected using the IP of a subscribing institution (library, laboratory, etc.)
or through its VPN.


        © 2006 Jacek Radwan. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

       Subscribing institutions/libraries may grant individuals the privilege of making a single copy of an EER article for non-commercial educational or non-commercial research purposes. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also use articles for non-commercial educational purposes by making any number of copies for course packs or course reserve collections. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also loan single copies of articles to non-commercial libraries for educational purposes.

       All copies of abstracts and articles must preserve their copyright notice without modification.