Social Experience During Development and Female Offspring Aggression in Peromyscus Mice

Authors


Janet K. Bester-Meredith, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119, USA. E-mail: bestej@spu.edu

Abstract

Cross-fostering between the highly aggressive, biparental California mouse (Peromyscus californicus) and the less aggressive, less parental white-footed mouse (P. leucopus) influences female offspring attack latency in California mice, but not in white-footed mice. Adult female California mice raised by white-footed mice expressed longer attack latencies in a neutral-arena test but not in a resident-intruder test. One social cue that may be used by offspring to develop environmentally appropriate levels of aggression is the type of parental care during development. In California mice, a composite score of maternal behavior was positively associated with neutral-arena aggression as indicated by decreased attack latency. In both species, paternal nest-building was positively associated with neutral-arena aggression and higher maternal retrieval behavior predicted higher offspring resident-intruder aggression as indicated by decreased attack latency. Together, these results indicate that parental behavior has the potential to shape the development of attack latency in female offspring.

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