Twenty-five-day-old A. cahirinus pups (weanlings) were tested for their responses to chemical cues produced by various classes of conspecific agemates. In Experiment 1, both male and female pups preferred bedding soiled by weanlings of either sex over clean bedding material. Subsequent experiments indicate that male but not female weanlings prefer chemical cues emanating from littermates over comparable stimuli from unfamiliar agemates. Also, chemicals produced by agemates maintained on the same diet as the animals were preferred by weanlings of either sex over cues from unfamiliar-diet weanlings. At weaning, as for other periods of development, the individual's responsiveness to conspecific chemical cues is probably a function of age-specific environmental and social demands and the salience of various classes of conspecifics for ultimate reproductive success.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
1The research project reported in this paper was supported by NICHD grant No. 00973.
- Acomys cahirinus
- Chemical communication
- Sibling interactions