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Behav Brain Res. 1998 Nov;96(1-2):151-9.

The selectivity of sexual responses to song displays: effects of partial chemical lesion of the HVC in female canaries.

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Laboratoire de Psychophysiologie et d'Ethologie, U.P.R.E.S.A. 7025, Université Paris X Nanterre, France. Catherine.Del.Negro@leec.univ-paris13.Fr


By stimulating female canaries with computer edited songs, we investigated the involvement of the caudal nucleus of the ventral hyperstriatum or high vocal center (HVC) in the selectivity of sexual responsiveness to different kinds of conspecific songs. Due to the fact that the types of conspecific song phrases act as relevant cues to give song its sexual potency, we compared courtship responses to two conspecific songs, highly sexually-stimulating and weakly sexually-stimulating song, before and after the partial ibotenate lesion of the HVC. Sexual responses to heterospecific song were also tested. Copulation solicitation displays were used as an index of female responses. The partial chemical lesions of the HVC whatever the HVC portion damaged affected female bird behavior; they responded more strongly to weakly sexually-stimulating song and to heterospecific song than before the lesions. However, the conspecific sexually attractive song continued to elicit the highest level of sexual displays. None of the control birds ever altered their pattern of responses to the three song types. The results suggest that the HVC is part of the neural network engaged in the control of sexual preferences to conspecific song displays.

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