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Variation in basal metabolic rate and activity in relation to reproductive condition and photoperiod in white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus)

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A naturally variable life-history trait with underlying physiological variation is the photoperiodic response of many temperate-zone rodents, including white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus (Rafinesque, 1818)). Male P. leucopus were obtained from a short photoperiod responsive (R) line, artificially selected for reproductive suppression in short-day conditions (SD) and a nonresponsive (NR) line selected for reproductive maturity in SD. We tested for variation in metabolic rate between lines in SD and long-day conditions (LD). NR mice consumed 34% more food than R mice, without concomitant increase in body mass in SD. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) was found to be significantly greater in NR than R mice, and NR mice were found to engage in significantly more spontaneous (daily) locomotor activity. Energy-use estimates based on 24 h respirometry matched closely the level of intake reported for individual mice. The increased BMR and average daily metabolic rate in NR mice was correlated with testis size, but not with major central organs or digestibility. No significant difference in BMR or activity was found in mice from the same lines held in LD. Elevated intake in SD mice appears to be associated with differences in fertility and not other aspects of physiology in the respective lines.
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Keywords: Peromyscus leucopus; activité locomotrice; basal metabolic rate; genetic variation; locomotor activity; metabolism; métabolisme; métabolisme de base; métabolisme soutenu; photoperiodism; photopériodisme; reproduction; souris à pattes blanches; sustained metabolic rate; variation génétique; white-footed mouse

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Virginia State University, P.O. Box 9064, Virginia State University, VA 23806, USA. 2: Department of Biology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187, USA.

Publication date: 2012-05-13

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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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