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Abstract

Direct contact with the alien male pheromone for 7 days before mating significantly decreased the rate of male-induced implantation failure (the Bruce effect) in newly inseminated female mice. By contrast, females housed with alien males for 7 days before mating so that physical contact with the latter was prevented exhibited a high rate of implantation failure following exposure to alien males after mating. Exposure to an air-borne pheromone produced by alien males induced oestrus (the Whitten effect) in a significant number of grouped females. The results do not support the suggestion that the inability of the stud male to block implantation is due to his original induction of oestrus. The results also do not support the view that the key factor in the induction of the Bruce effect is the ability of the female to identify the stud as an individual which prevents her from responding to him but allows her to react to a new male with hormonal changes leading to implantation failure and return to oestrus. It is suggested that the olfactory discrimination exhibited by the female in the Bruce effect is influenced by her overall olfactory experience before and after mating. The results are consistent with the view that the male-originating pheromone involved in the Bruce effect is distinct from the one involved in the Whitten effect.