Male-Female Interactions in Prairie Voles
Dyadic encounters between virgin female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) and males with various reproductive histories were analysed using observational techniques and sequential analysis. Unfamiliar, sexually inexperienced males interacted in a manner that would permit physical contact, pheromone transfer and the subsequent induction of female sexual behaviour. Low levels of olfactory investigation were seen among sibling males and females, which may account for the failure of such pairs to reproduce. Agonistic encounters were common between females and unfamilar sexually-experienced males, suggesting that fighting could also provide a behavioural barrier to reproduction.