Ambaryan A.V., Kotenkova E.V. 2020. Mating behavior of house mice of Trans-Caucasian hybrid zone: a comparative study with parent species Mus musculus // Russian J. Theriol. Vol.19. No.2. P.149–160 [in English].

Alexander V. Ambarian [], Elena V. Kotenkova [], Institute of Ecology and Evolution RAS, Leninskiy prospect 33, Moscow 119071, Russia.

doi: 10.15298/rusjtheriol.19.2.05

ABSTRACT. The functional significance of the different types of social behavior in total as well as distinct elements of these behavior, are shaped by factors derived mainly from individual, gender and speciesspecific characteristics. We analyzed which of these factors (or all of them) affect features of mating behavior in dyadic encounters of conand heterospecific partners in two closely related forms of house mice — Mus musculus and mice from hybrid zone of Trans-Caucasia. There are two sources of the polymorphism in the gene pool of Trans-Caucasian mice: the ancient (stemmed from relict origin of the genetic pool) and evolutionarily new (derived from gene flows from differentiated taxa: M. domesticus and M. musculus). We revealed that sex is the main factor determining the level of aggression during dyadic encounters of sexual partners. It has been shown that species-specific behavioral patterns are the only factor that determines some of the main quantitative parameters of the male’s sexual behavior. These include the frequency of ejaculation and the rate of mounts with intromission, which are definitive for the successful copulation. As we have shown earlier species-specific features in the patterns of sexual behavior, which appear during encounters of heterospecific males and females belonging to the closely related taxa of house mice, may provoke the incomplete or the unsuccessful copulation. This means that differences in the main quantitative parameters of male’s mating behavior may represent (on an evolutionary scale) one of the driving forces behind the reproductive isolation of Trans-Caucasian mice of hybrid origin from M. musculus.

KEY WORDS: hybrid zone, Trans-Caucasian house mice, Mus musculus, mating behavior.

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