Copulation and intermale aggression in rats

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Exp I observed attack behavior of 9 reliably aggressive male Long-Evans rats against unfamiliar male intruders immediately following copulation to one or more ejaculations. Copulatory series to 5 ejaculations did not differ from copulation to a single ejaculation or from a noncopulatory control in affecting aggressive behavior. Repetitive biting attacks occurred in all conditions, with comparable wounding. Evidently, the male postejaculatory state of insensitivity to sexual stimuli does not extend to stimuli eliciting intermale aggression. A 2nd experiment determined the attack-eliciting capacity of foreign males placed in the home cage of an actively copulating S. As intromissions increased and the interval to ejaculation decreased, the probability of intermale aggression and interruption of copulation diminished. Findings suggest that a postejaculatory mechanism for behavioral inhibition exists in the male rat, preventing his interference with fertilization but without affecting his capacity to prevent other males from attempting to displace the fruits of his labors. (34 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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