Solicitation behavior in the estrous female rat: a review

Horm Behav. 1989 Dec;23(4):473-502. doi: 10.1016/0018-506x(89)90037-8.


Data are reviewed concerning the display of solicitation behaviors in the estrous female rat, including precopulatory hopping, darting, and ear wiggling, and the pacing of copulatory contacts through patterns of approach toward and withdrawal from a sexually active male rat. Observations made under semi-natural and laboratory conditions suggest that solicitation behaviors determine the types and amounts of coital stimuli received by the female. Solicitation behaviors as regulators of cervical-vaginal stimulation play a primary role in ensuring the activation of the neuroendocrine reflex are responsible for prolongation of ovarian corpora luteal function. Despite solicitation behaviors' importance for reproductive success, few studies have examined the neural and endocrine mechanisms involved in the display of those aspects of solicitation behavior which influence the patterning of coital stimuli received by the female. The present review suggests that two elements of pacing behavior, the ability to discriminate between varying intensities of coital stimulation and the active patterning of approach/withdrawal which controls receipt of that stimulation, are constituent parts of solicitation behaviors readily amenable to experimental investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Copulation / physiology
  • Corpus Luteum / physiology
  • Estrogens / physiology
  • Estrus / physiology*
  • Female
  • Progesterone / physiology
  • Rats
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*


  • Estrogens
  • Progesterone