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A Quantitative Description of the Behavior of Rats During Copulation

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Two experiments were performed in order to quantify the behavior that occurs during copulation tests in the rat. In the first experiment each of 10 male rats was given 16 copulation tests and in the second experiment each of 10 female rats was given 5 copulation tests. The behavior of the two sexes was divided into 8 and 10 categories respectively. In both sexes locomotor-exploratory behavior increased in the period preceding the male's ejaculation and was greatest in the middle of the post-ejaculatory interval. Females explored more than males. Both sexes sniffed each other and most sniffing occurred before the first intromission and near the end of the post-ejaculatory interval. In males genital grooming was associated with copulation, but this was not true in females. Non-genital grooming was not closely associated with copulation. Pursuit and mounting in males and running and lordosing in females increased during periods of copulatory activity. In both sexes immobility appeared to be associated with ejaculation by the male. Interpretation of the immobility response was discussed.

Affiliations: 1: University of Florida, Gainesville, USA

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