1. College of Animal Science and Technology, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang 471003, China 2. Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810001, China 3. Ministry of Agriculture Key Laboratory for AgroBiological Environmental Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China 4. College of Life Sciences, Shandong Normal University, 250014, China
To research the retention of parental odours of female root voles (Microtus oeconomus), the behavioural responses to urine from parents were recorded 0, 10, 20, 30, and 40 days after weaning (20, 30, 40, 50, 60 days of age respectively). The results showed that: (1) The frequency of self-grooming in the presence of paternal or a strange male's odour was significantly different when subjects were 20 days of age. The frequency of approach to paternal odour was higher than to a stranger's odour. In addition, the counter-mark frequency for paternal odours was less than for strange odours when subjects were 30 days of age. (2) There was no difference between the behavioural responses to paternal and strange odours when subjects were 40 days of age. (3) There was no difference between the behavioural responses to maternal and strange odours when subjects were 20 days of age. (4) Females showed different behavioural patterns to maternal and strange odours 10-40 d after weaning. In conclusion, the retention of paternal odour can continue until 10-20 d after weaning, and maternal odour can continue until 40 d after weaning.