This is what it smells like when mice cry

A pheromone in the male mouse’s tears causes a positive sexual response in female mice who smell it. The neural pathway was meticulously mapped in a study published today in Nature. Females ready to copulate arch their back and pose their behind when the pheromone, ESP1 is secreted. Females not ready to copulate usually just run away.

Pheromones in tears may have evolved because tear fluid lingers in the fur, and female mice often groom the faces of other mice. Crying for sex does not work in humans though, as quite a few of us know. Anyhow, this study of tear-induced sex reminded me of this masterpiece by Prince, before he was the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.

Haga, S., Hattori, T., Sato, T., Sato, K., Matsuda, S., Kobayakawa, R., Sakano, H., Yoshihara, Y., Kikusui, T., & Touhara, K. (2010). The male mouse pheromone ESP1 enhances female sexual receptive behaviour through a specific vomeronasal receptor Nature, 466 (7302), 118-122 DOI: 10.1038/nature09142

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