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Mouse mates with similar personalities start families faster

Anxious paired with anxious, nonchalant with nonchalant — it’s the match that matters

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8:00am, April 6, 2015
Mound-building Mice

MOUSE MATES   Pairs of mice from a mound-building species bred readily — or not-so-readily — in lab setups depending on how much his personality differed from hers. 

Who knows whether opposites attract among mice? But similars do best when it comes to making a fast start on a family.

Among mound-building mice (Mus spicilegus), the more alike mates’ personalities were, the more likely they were to start having babies soon after being caged together in the lab, says Heiko Rödel of the University of Paris. Rödel and colleagues scored the animals’ similarities based on tests of anxiety, the researchers explain in the upcoming May issue of Animal Behaviour.

“Ours is the first study in mammals on personality matching and reproductive parameters,” Rödel says.

How couples’ quirks mesh, or don’t, as they reproduce could be an underappreciated factor in how a population fares and why it maintains such wide variety in personalities.

When it comes to nonhuman animals, Rödel describes &ldquo

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