Mating is essential for the reproduction of animal species. As mating behaviors are high-risk and energy-consuming processes, it is critical for animals to make adaptive mating decisions. This includes not only finding a suitable mate, but also adapting mating behaviors to the animal’s needs and environmental conditions. Internal needs include physical states (e.g., hunger) and emotional states (e.g., fear), while external conditions include both social cues (e.g., the existence of predators or rivals) and non-social factors (e.g., food availability). With recent advances in behavioral neuroscience, we are now beginning to understand the neural basis of mating behaviors, particularly in genetic model organisms such as mice and flies. However, how internal and external factors are integrated by the nervous system to enable adaptive mating-related decision-making in a state- and context-dependent manner is less well understood. In this article, we review recent knowledge regarding the neural basis of flexible mating behaviors from studies of flies and mice. By contrasting the knowledge derived from these two evolutionarily distant model organisms, we discuss potential conserved and divergent neural mechanisms involved in the control of flexible mating behaviors in invertebrate and vertebrate brains.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
DD was funded by the Zuckerman STEM Scholars program.
Copyright © 2022 Karigo and Deutsch.
- internal states
- persistent states
- sexual behavior
- sexual maturation
- sexual satiety
- social experience
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Sensory Systems
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience