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Pregnancy Blocking in Rodents: Adaptive Advantages for Females

Jay B. Labov
The American Naturalist
Vol. 118, No. 3 (Sep., 1981), pp. 361-371
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2460637
Page Count: 11
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Pregnancy Blocking in Rodents: Adaptive Advantages for Females
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Abstract

Recently inseminated female rodents exposed to strange males or their odors will lose developing embryos and return to estrus. This pregnancy blocking phenomenon has been interpreted as a strategy to increase male reproductive success and reduce their chances of caring for unrelated infants. The adaptive significance for females has remained unclear. Arguments are presented here that pregnancy blocking may have actually evolved as a female mechanism to minimize parental investment in offspring which are potentially susceptible to infanticide by the strange male. Data reported for other mammals and one species of bird are reinterpreted from the perspective of female reproductive advantage.

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