One day old spiny-mouse pups (Acomys cahirinus) were found to prefer bedding material which had been soiled by a 3-5 day postpartum lactating female to bedding soiled by an adult male or litter of conspecific neonates. Further tests indicate that pups are still attracted to bedding soiled by a 27-30 day postpartum female providing that the female is lactating and has been allowed to interact with her preweanling offspring. Production of the maternal pheromone in Acomys c. may therefore be mediated by the hormone(s) which controls lactation, and the prolonged emission of this pheromone appears to be related to the communal mothering shown by group housed animals.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by NICHHD Grant Number 00973.
- Infantile olfactory preferences
- Mother-infant interactions
- Precocial offspring