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Social organization and mating system of free-living prairie voles Microtus ochrogaster: a review

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Title: Social organization and mating system of free-living prairie voles Microtus ochrogaster: a review
Author(s): Getz, Lowell L.; McGuire, Betty; Carter, C. Sue
Subject(s): Animal behavior Biogeography Terrestrial ecology Behavioral biology Reproductive system Voles
Abstract: We summarize the social organization and mating system of the prairie vole Microtus ochrogaster as determined from an extensive field study in east-central Illinois, USA. The fundamental social organization of M. ochrogaster consists of communal groups formed from an original male-female pair or single female (usually a survivor of a male-female pair) by addition of philopatric offspring and unrelated adults. Philopatric offspring comprise 70% of additions to the original breeding unit. In addition, most (80%) unrelated adults do not join a family group until at least two philopatric offspring have reached adult age. Thus, formation of communal groups is based on a high level of philopatry. Male-female pairs display traits associated with behavioral monogamy, including sharing a nest and home range, mate-guarding by the male, and paternal behavior (grooming, huddling, and retrieval of young). Members of communal groups also defend the group territory.
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: Current Zoology
Citation Info: Getz, L.L., B. McGuire, C.S. Carter. 2005. Social organization and mating system of free-living prairie voles, Microtus ochrogaster: a review. Acta Zoologica Sinica. 51:178-186.
Genre: Article
Type: Text
Language: English
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed: is peer reviewed
Rights Information: Copyright 2005 Current Zoology
Date Available in IDEALS: 2009-12-21

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