Social-Isolation Inhibits Male-Like Sexual-Behavior in Female Hamsters
In the female golden hamster, Mesocricetus auratus, group housing permits the expression of male-like behavioral patterns including mounting and pelvic thrusting toward an estrous stimulus female. Sixty percent of females housed in groups of five showed these behaviors, while singly housed females were rarely observed to show mounting or thrusting. Females weaned at 19 or 35 days of age did not differ in their tendencies to show male-like behavioral patterns. Virtually all observations of mounting and pelvic thrusting behaviors were made on days when the females being tested were in behavioral estrus. These findings differ from previous studies which have reported that masculine behavioral patterns are rare in normal female hamsters. In previous studies females that were evaluated were typically not in behavioral estrus and were not housed for long periods of time with other intact females. Social factors interact with hormonal state to contribute to the expression of male-like behaviors in female hamsters.