Image Credit: Kseniia Vladimirovna/S

While examining the response of male mice to pregnant and lactating female mice, experimenters made a related and fairly odd discovery. It’s that the male mice are frightened of the smell of bananas.

A crew from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, observed spikes in stress hormone responses in male mice while they were close to late-pregnant female mice.

“Male mice display stress and stress-induced [pain inhibition] in the proximity of late-pregnant or lactating female mice,” the team jotted down in their statement published in Science Advances.

“We also observe in our own hands, as has been seen before, that late-pregnant and lactating female mice respond to gonadally intact stranger male mice with aggression and urine marking.”

Male mice are better known for being forceful and infanticidal to pups to preserve their genetics. Heavily pregnant and lactating mice and protecting their infants aggressively spew out chemicals to push these males away.

The study discovered that virgin male mice were more plausible to be stressed out by the existence of n-pentyl acetate, whether in bananas or in the form of mouse pee. This suits their impulse to be more forceful to infants than non-virgin mice, indicating that they are a bigger threat to infants than older males.

“The current findings suggest that close proximity of male subjects to reproductively active females is a previously unknown stressor for the males,” the team inferred, “and that stress may even be caused by the proximity of certain foodstuffs.”


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