Mums Tell Dads to Care
By Dan Cossins
WOW, I'd never think a mouse talked to another mouse... Did you? I might need to change my diet!
Mouse mothers emit ultrasound vocalizations and odor cues to stimulate otherwise uninterested fathers to provide parental care to their pups.
Non-monogamous male lab mice are not natural fathers, but they do provide parental care when housed together with their mates and pups for a few days. Now, scientists in Japan have demonstrated that when both parents are separated from the pups, the mother communicates through ultrasonic vocalisations (USVs) and odor cues to stimulate the father to provide parental care when the offspring are returned. So it seems that when the mother fears for her pups, she tells the father to get involved.
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