The effects of food deprivation, aggression, and isolation on infanticide in the male Mongolian gerbil

Robert W. Elwood*, Malcolm C. Ostermeyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Male Mongolian gerbils show an increase in infanticide and pup‐cannibalism after 24‐hr food deprivation, suggesting that food acquisition is a function of this activity. Dominant animals show high levels of infanticide, but subordinate animals are inhibited from this activity. An increase in infanticide is seen when males from a single sex group are isolated; this increase resembles that observed when a male is separated from his pregnant mate [Elwood, 1980]. These results suggest a mechanism whereby males are normally brought into a noninfanticidal state during cohabitation with their pregnant mates owing to subordination by the latter. In this manner males are able to utilize strange pups as food but avoid harming their own offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalAggressive Behavior
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 1984

Keywords

  • dominance
  • hunger
  • infanticide
  • isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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