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Seasonal breeding in relation to dietary animal protein in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus)

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We used stable carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions of hair and liver as a way of examining seasonal diet changes and explaining seasonal breeding in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus (Wagner, 1845)). Summer and winter 13C values differed, which is attributed to the availability of different plant tissues (C3 plants). The 15N values of liver showed a decrease in consumed animal protein during winter, but the difference was not large enough to indicate a full trophic level change in diet from summer to winter. The 15N values of hair remained constant across the seasons, which is attributed to a continuous level of moulting throughout the year. Our data indicate that lowered food quality in the form of reduced dietary animal protein intake may play a role in the cessation of breeding in deer mice in winter.

Les compositions des isotopes stables de carbone et d’azote dans le poil et le foie nous ont servi à examiner les changements saisonniers de régime alimentaire et à expliquer la reproduction saisonnière chez les souris du crépuscule (Peromyscus maniculatus (Wagner, 1845)). Il y a des différences entre les valeurs estivales et hivernales de 13C, ce qui s’explique par la disponibilité de tissus végétaux différents (plantes C3). Les valeurs de 15N du foie indiquent une diminution de la consommation de protéines animales durant l’hiver, mais la différence n’est pas suffisamment importante pour représenter un changement complet de niveau trophique du régime de l’été à celui de l’hiver. Les valeurs de 15N du poil demeurent stables au cours des saisons, ce qui est expliqué par un niveau constant de mue au cours de l’année. Nos données indiquent que la qualité réduite de la nourriture à cause de la diminution d’ingestion de protéines animales dans le régime peut jouer un rôle dans l’interruption de la reproduction chez les souris du crépuscule en hiver.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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