Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Contented males fare better with the 'ladies'

Date:
November 25, 2013
Source:
University of Guelph
Summary:
A first-ever study reveals that relaxed, content male mink raised in enriched environments -- cages complete with pools, toys and swings -- are more successful in the mating season. The findings may help improve mating among captive animals, especially those with breeding problems such as giant pandas and Canada's rare black-footed ferrets.

Content male mink raised in enriched environments -- cages complete with pools, toys and swings -- are more successful in the mating season.
Credit: ฉ thednb / Fotolia

Happy, sane males have better love lives -- at least for mink.

A first-ever study from the University of Guelph reveals that relaxed, content male mink raised in enriched environments -- cages complete with pools, toys and swings -- are more successful in the mating season.

The research, led by animal welfare expert Prof. Georgia Mason and her doctoral student Maria Diez-Leon, was published recently in PLOS ONE, an international journal published by the Public Library of Science.

The findings may help improve mating among captive animals, especially those with breeding problems such as giant pandas and Canada's rare black-footed ferrets.

"With many captive carnivores, it can be hard to get males to mate: some are too aggressive, while others just seem not that interested," said Mason, a behavioural biologist specializing in how animals adapt to captive housing conditions.

"Our findings suggest that improving their welfare via better housing could help make the difference. We also hope our results will encourage more use of enrichments on mink farms."

The study involved 32 female and 32 male American mink, with half of the latter raised in enriched cages. Over two years, the same males were offered as mates to two different sets of female mink.

Females were free to wander and choose between enriched or non-enriched males.

At mating time, the males were presented in identical cages. "Each female could only see her suitors, not whether or not they had cool real estate and a swimming pool," Mason said.

Males raised with enrichments mated nearly twice as often as non-enriched males.

"We can't tell if the enriched males are more attractive, keener on mating or both," said Mason. "But the secret to their success is their calmer, more normal behaviour."

Enriched males avoid the repetitive pacing and head-twirling common among mink raised in non-stimulating environments. Such behaviours reduce males' success with females, Mason said.

Males from enriched houses are also physically bigger and heavier, with bigger spleens indicating better immune systems. They have higher testosterone levels, suggesting greater libidos, and they even have better developed penis bones.

"How important these other changes are to females is something we hope to look at next," said Mason.

"But first and foremost, living a good, low-stress life, one that results in a healthy, well-developed brain, is what really helps them succeed."

Diez-Leon added: "Our results confirm what has been long suspected: that males raised in barren environments are at risk of developing into physically and psychologically unattractive adults, which affects breeding in captivity."

"Enriched housing conditions could provide a solution, with the added benefit of enhancing animals' welfare."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marํa Dํez-Le๓n, Jeff Bowman, Steve Bursian, H้l่ne Filion, David Galicia, Jeannette Kanefsky, Angelo Napolitano, Rupert Palme, Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde, Kim Scribner, Georgia Mason. Environmentally Enriched Male Mink Gain More Copulations than Stereotypic, Barren-Reared Competitors. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (11): e80494 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080494

Cite This Page:

University of Guelph. "Contented males fare better with the 'ladies'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125172107.htm>.
University of Guelph. (2013, November 25). Contented males fare better with the 'ladies'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125172107.htm
University of Guelph. "Contented males fare better with the 'ladies'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125172107.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) — Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins