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Transmission of Food Selectivity from Mothers to Offspring in Akodon Azarae (Rodentia, Muridae)

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In mammals, selection of the appropriate food types from the available ones in the environment, is one of the main problems which offspring have to solve at weaning. Investigation of the mother's mouth by the offspring could be the best strategy for getting this information.

Under laboratory conditions we studied the role played by the mother in the transmission of food selectivity to offspring in Akodon azarae. Offspring spent more time smelling the mother's mouth when she had eaten unfamiliar food (squash or potato) than when mothers had eaten familiar food (sunflower seeds). After a period of interaction between the mother and the offspring, pups ate larger quantities of being the food type that had been the most selected by their mothers, independently of preference ranking (squash and potato the less preferred type of food). We concluded that mothers in A. azarae play an active role in the transmission of food selectivity to their offspring.

Affiliations: 1: Dto. de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Universitaria, Pab. II, Piso 4to., 1428, Buenos Aires, Argentina;, Email: osuarez@biolo.bg.fcen.uba.ar; 2: Dto. de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Universitaria, Pab. II, Piso 4to., 1428, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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