Infanticide in the male rat: the role of the vomeronasal organ

Physiol Behav. 1988;42(3):303-6. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(88)90087-x.


The present study constitutes the first demonstration that vomeronasal chemoreception plays a role in the response of the virgin male rat to conspecific newborn. Specifically, it shows that virgin males, after removal of the vomeronasal organ, exhibit a decrease in the incidence of infanticidal behavior. This finding is discussed in terms of how responsiveness to young can be affected by changes in the accessory olfactory system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Male
  • Mammillary Bodies / physiology
  • Nasal Mucosa / innervation*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Paternal Behavior*
  • Preoptic Area / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains