Chapter

Monogamous Brains and Alternative Tactics: Neuronal V1aR, Space Use, and Sexual Infidelity among Male Prairie Voles

Edited by Steven M. Phelps and Alexander G. Ophir

in Cognitive Ecology II

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226169354
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226169378 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226169378.003.0009
Monogamous Brains and Alternative Tactics: Neuronal V1aR, Space Use, and Sexual Infidelity among Male Prairie Voles

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This chapter focuses on male sexual behavior within a unique mammalian model that relies on natural variation in the mating systems of voles of the genus Microtus. The authors use their thorough knowledge of voles' natural history and behavior, and discuss the neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, and genetics underlying males' pair-bonding and their corresponding use of space. It is observed that by making pair-bonding and residency contingent on repeated and prolonged mating, the mechanism ensures that a male is likely to be a successful resident before committing to the tactic. The association of cingulate V1aR variation with intrapair and extrapair paternity highlights how behavioral specializations can make conflicting demands of cognitive substrates. Because new methods permit the manipulation of V1aR and other genes in natural environments, such studies promise to clarify both the mechanisms of natural behavior and the origins of behavioral diversity.

Keywords: sexual behavior; mammalian model; mating systems; pair-bonding; V1aR; tactic

Chapter.  7293 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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