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Parental Care and Its Relationship to Social Organization in the Montane Vole (Microtus montanus)

Betty McGuire and Melinda Novak
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 67, No. 2 (May, 1986), pp. 305-311
DOI: 10.2307/1380883
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1380883
Page Count: 7
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Parental Care and Its Relationship to Social Organization in the Montane Vole (Microtus montanus)
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Abstract

The parental behavior of male and female montane voles (Microtus montanus) was evaluated by housing pairs of voles in a semi-naturalistic laboratory environment that provided runways and extensive space and cover. The male and female of each breeding pair occupied different nests, and consequently males rarely interacted with their offspring. Whereas maternal behavior showed a general decrease in frequency and duration from parturition onward, paternal care remained essentially nonexistent throughout the 20-day observation period. Males were less active than females and spent a large portion of their time resting in their nest or sitting in the runways. Despite agreement with field data on the nesting pattern of M. montanus, these results differ from those previously obtained in the laboratory environment. From a comparative perspective, parental behavior in the montane vole is similar to that of the meadow vole and different from that of the pine vole and prairie vole.

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