Socially induced delayed reproduction in female Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus): Is there anything special about dominant females?
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In 4 experiments, the authors explored effects of interaction with both sexually active adult female and unfamiliar adult male Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) on young female gerbils' ages at first parturition. Presence of a natural mother retarded development of her daughters. However, presence of a natural mother had no greater effect on her daughters' development than did presence of any other familiar animal, either male or female. Further, exposing young female gerbils to an unfamiliar male accelerated their development even when their reproductively active mothers were present. The data indicate that maintaining young female gerbils in stable family groups results in both inhibition of sexual maturation (caused by exposure to familiar individuals) and failure to activate sexual development (caused by lack of exposure to unfamiliar males).
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