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Scent marking
Date:10/31/2013

tudy provides the first direct evidence that scent marking is maintained by sexual selection, as it enhanced males' reproductive success when females could choose their mates", explains Dustin Penn, the senior author of the study. Why should this be so? It was not because low markers were non-territorial subordinates, as all the males in the study had their own territories. Another possibility is that females prefer to mate with males that are better markers, because it conveys information about the males' health, condition or quality. Scent-marking is energetically costly and attracts predators, and therefore poor quality males are probably less able to afford higher marking rates. Dr. Penn and his group are currently investigating the biochemistry of mouse urine to determine how scent marks provide information about males' health and condition.

Friends without benefits

Unexpectedly, however, the team found that female mice were more likely to socialize with the lower rather than the high marking males. So, it seems that mouse females prefer to spend their time with the less flashy males, but they tend to mate with the flashy, more conspicuous males.


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Contact: Susanna Kautschitsch
susanna.kautschitsch@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-1153
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

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