Female rats tails crucial to mating

May 21st, 2008 - 4:59 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 21 (ANI): Female rats’ tails plays a crucial role in the rodent mating process, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Institute of Neuroethology, an affiliate of the University of Veracruz, have found that female rats use their tails to direct, stimulate and balance their male partners.

Lead researcher Pablo Pacheco said that “the base of the female’s tail facilitates, modulates and even permits the male’s lateral mounting, which guarantees that the penile tip will find the vaginal opening,” while the tip of her tail then offers the male stimulation.

During a study, the researchers surgically removed both female and male rats tails, and then observed how the removals affected their mating.

It was observed that when female partners lacked tails, the males performed fewer mounts, seemed to have trouble finding their way and completing the mating process.

According to Pacheco, the males cannot see what they are doing, so the female’s tail helps to guide their movements.

“We think that the information supplied by the tail’s sensory machinery modulates the pelvic thrust movements, helping the mechanism for the ejaculatory process as well as for the correct deposit of the semen,” Discovery News quoted him as saying.

The researchers behind this study believe that tail length does not make any difference, for males usually have longer tails than females, and tail length varies among different types of rats.

Anders Agmo, chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Tromso, Norway, says that the new finding may have human applications too.

He says that though humans do not have tails, much of the much of the rat-tail information is transmitted through the spinal cord, and rat and human spinal cords are quite similar in their basic structure.

“Several human sexual dysfunctions are related to sensory feedback from the genitals and the responses produced by this feedback,” said Agmo, adding that premature ejaculation is one of the most common problems related to reduced reactivity to sensory feedback.

“If we could achieve a complete understanding of these neural mechanisms in a rat, we would certainly be able to better understand and treat human disorders,” he added.

The study has been published in the journal Animal Behavior. (ANI)

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