Copulatory behavior of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus): III. Effects on pregnancy initiation

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Abstract

10 experiments defining the nature and dynamics of the responsivity pattern of female deer mice to copulatory stimulation are reported. In cycling estrus, copulation beyond the 1st ejaculatory series was critical for maximal probabilities of pregnancy. The stimulus requirements appeared elevated in older, multiparous Ss. Young Ss tested in postpartum estrus were more responsive, with a single ejaculatory series sufficient for maximal probabilities of pregnancy. Artificial vaginal-cervical stimulation triggered pseudopregnancy in Ss when given in the appropriate amount and pattern. The responsivity followed an orderly dose-response relation in Ss without extensive test experience. The dose-response relation was not an artifact of changes in responsivity within the dark phase. Ss became more responsive to artificial stimulation as a function of experience and/or age. The female “vaginal code” is seen as a critical link in successful reproduction, but one that is both sensitive to prevailing conditions for the individual female and evolutionarily labile. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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