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The presence of the male facilitates parturition in California mice (Peromyscus californicus)

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Abstract:

The California mouse (Peromyscus californicus) is a monogamous species with biparental care. The present study investigated the behaviour of the male during parturition and compared the behaviour of females that gave birth when in male–female pairs with that of females whose mate was removed 2 days prior to the expected birth date and thus gave birth alone. Parturitions were videotaped and the behaviour of each mouse was analyzed during parturition and during the 15 min before and 15 min after parturition. The results showed that males licked the anogenital region of the female, ate the placenta, and exhibited parental care as soon as the pups were born. Females in pairs received more body grooming and anogenital stimulation during parturition than females alone, owing to the additional licking received from their mate. In addition, pups born with the father present received more licking during and after parturition than pups born to females housed alone. Removal of the male near the end of the gestation period delayed parturition by 1 day. These results show that male California mice participate in the birth process by assisting the female and caring for pups, and that the presence of the male during the gestation period may facilitate parturition.

La souris de Californie (Peromyscus californicus) est une espèce monogame chez laquelle les deux parents participent au soin des petits. Nous analysons ici le comportement des mâles durant la parturition et comparons le comportement de femelles qui mettent bas en présence de leur partenaire à celui de femelles dont le partenaire a été retiré 2 jours avant la date prévue de la mise bas et qui ont donc donné naissance à leurs petits seules. Les mises bas ont été filmées sur bande vidéo et le comportement de chaque souris a été analysé 15 min avant, pendant et 15 min après la mise bas. Les mâles lèchent la région anogénitale des femelles, mangent le placenta et prodiguent des soins parentaux dès la naissance des petits. Les femelles avec partenaire reçoivent plus de soins de toilettage du corps et de stimulation anogénitale durant la mise bas que les femelles seules, à cause du léchage supplémentaire reçu du partenaire. De plus, les petits nés en présence des deux parents sont léchés plus souvent durant et après leur naissance que les petits nés de mères seules. Le retrait du mâle vers la fin de la période de gestation retarde la parturition de 1 jour. Ces résultats démontrent que, chez la souris de Californie, les mâles participent aux processus de mise bas en assistant la femelle et en s'occupant des petits et que la présence du mâle durant la période de gestation peut être un facteur important de facilitation de la gestation.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2002

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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nrc/cjz/2002/00000080/00000005/art00016
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