Juvenilized play fighting in subordinate male rats

As pairs of male juvenile sibling rats that are housed together become sexually mature, they develop a dominance-subordinance relationship. These dominance relationships appear to be reflected in the play fighting of the pairmates both as juveniles and as young adults, in that the seemingly subordinate partner initiates more playful attacks at both ages. However, as adults, even though it is the subordinate that initiates more playful attacks, it is the subordinate that is pinned on his back by the partner most often. Dominant pairmates were found to switch to defensive patterns typically found in adult males. In contrast, the subordinates, when contacted on the nape, were more likely to retain the juvenile pattern of turning over to supine. Therefore, the subordinate pairmate of an adult pair of male siblings both initiates more playful attacks and defends itself in a more juvenile manner than its dominant partner, and this leads to it being pinned more frequently. This pattern of behavior by subordinate rats is suggested to function as a friendship maintenance mechanism permitting co-existence in multimale colonies. Copyright © 1992 Wiley?Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company

As pairs of male juvenile sibling rats that are housed together become sexually mature, they develop a dominance-subordinance relationship. These dominance relationships appear to be reflected in the play fighting of the pairmates both as juveniles and as young adults, in that the seemingly subordinate partner initiates more playful attacks at both ages. However, as adults, even though it is the subordinate that initiates more playful attacks, it is the subordinate that is pinned on his back by the partner most often. Dominant pairmates were found to switch to defensive patterns typically found in adult males. In contrast, the subordinates, when contacted on the nape, were more likely to retain the juvenile pattern of turning over to supine. Therefore, the subordinate pairmate of an adult pair of male siblings both initiates more playful attacks and defends itself in a more juvenile manner than its dominant partner, and this leads to it being pinned more frequently. This pattern of behavior by subordinate rats is suggested to function as a friendship maintenance mechanism permitting co-existence in multimale colonies. Copyright © 1992 Wiley?Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company

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