Behavior Genetics

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 31–52 | Cite as

A Review of the Methods of Studies on Infant Ultrasound Production and Maternal Retrieval in Small Rodents

  • Martin E. HahnEmail author
  • Maria J. Lavooy


Ultrasonic vocalizations or calls produced by young rodents have been associated with aspects of maternal behavior, in particular retrieving. We reviewed the methods of study used by investigators on each topic, focusing on intrinsic or subject variables and extrinsic or experimental variables. Intrinsic variables included the species studied, genotypes employed, number and sex composition of the litters, and the ages of mothers and pups. Extrinsic variables for studies on ultrasonic calling included: eliciting stimuli, test surroundings, and the length of observation. Extrinsic variables in studies of maternal retrieval included the testing procedure and the length of observation. The methods used in studies within each topic vary greatly. In an effort to facilitate progress in the areas, especially with respect to isolating individual genes with a contribution to ultrasonic call production or studying the effects of pharmaceutical agents on either behavior, we propose some standardization of nomenclature and/or procedure in four areas: (1) the stimuli or situations used to elicit ultrasonic calls, (2) the length of observation in ultrasonic call studies, (3) the number of pups per litter and the sex composition of litters in both ultrasonic call and maternal retrieval studies and finally, (4) the apparatus or testing situation used in studies of pup retrieval.


Pup retrieval maternal behavior ultrasonic calls USVs mice rats rodents 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.William Paterson UniversityWayneUSA
  2. 2.University of Central FloridaCocoa

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