Sex difference and postnatal change of maternal behavioral patterns in juvenile male and female rats

Satoshi Shima, Aya Urano, Lajos Korányi, Korehito Yamanouchi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Juvenile rats are known to show certain elements of maternal behavior. In this experiment, to investigate sex difference and postnatal change of retrieving and pup-cleaning (licking) behaviors in juvenile rats, these behaviors were recorded using new observation method at 20, 30 and 45 days of age in female and male Wistar rats. At 20 days of age, maternal behavior was observed in a common plastic observation cage (test A) and then test B was performed. In the test B, observation was carried out using a cage with a wooden box that was open on one side, helping the juveniles to establish a nest. As the results of day 20, most rats in all groups showed licking behavior in both the test A and B. The incidence of retrieving behavior increased from the test A to the test B with the box in both sexes, especially in males (p<0.01). The box is thought to play a facilitative role in induction of retrieving. Moreover, the incidence in males was higher than that in females in the test B (p<0.001). At 30 and 45 days of age, only a test B with box was performed. The incidences of licking and retrieving behaviors at 30 days of age were decreased significantly compared to those at 20 days of age in both sexes(p<0.001). Further decrease from 30 days to 45 days was observed. These results suggest that in juvenile rat, incidence of retrieving behavior in males is higher than that in females but there is no sex difference in incidence of licking behavior. Potency to show these behaviors decreases acutely before puberty in rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-699
Number of pages5
JournalZoological Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jun


  • Juvenile rats
  • Maternal behavior
  • Postnatal change
  • Sex difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex difference and postnatal change of maternal behavioral patterns in juvenile male and female rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this