Paced Mating Chamber


The Paced Mating Chamber is an innovative tool that enables researchers to study paced mating dynamics between female and male test subjects (mice or rats), providing precise control over copulatory interactions. Explore the nuances of reproductive processes and cognitive aspects with AniLocus – where precision meets naturalistic observation.

What is Paced Mating?

Paced mating in rodents refers to a natural pattern of mating behavior where the female controls the frequency and duration of sexual encounters. This behavior involves a series of approach and withdrawal movements by the female, allowing her to regulate the pacing and timing of copulatory interactions. The male, in turn, adjusts its mating behavior to match the female’s pace.

Sexual Behavior Research

  • Behavioral Relevance: Paced mating is a critical aspect of rodent reproductive behavior that mirrors the complexity observed in natural settings. Studying paced mating provides researchers with insights into the dynamics of consensual sexual interactions, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of rodent reproductive physiology.
  • Endocrine Regulation: Paced mating studies enable researchers to explore the intricate interplay between behavior and endocrine regulation. By observing the timing and frequency of mating behaviors, scientists can correlate these events with hormonal fluctuations, shedding light on the neuroendocrine mechanisms orchestrating reproductive processes.
  • Relevance to Human Reproduction: Rodents, particularly mice and rats, share fundamental aspects of reproductive physiology with humans. Understanding paced mating in rodents provides a valuable translational model for investigating aspects of human sexual behavior, reproduction, and fertility.

Sexual Behavior Relevance in Pharmaceutical Drug Development

  • Drug Efficacy Assessment: Utilizing paced mating studies in rodents offers a sensitive and behaviorally relevant model for assessing the effects of pharmaceutical interventions on reproductive function. Researchers can gauge drug efficacy in modulating mating behaviors, reproductive success, and associated endocrine responses.
  • Fertility and Reproductive Toxicology Screening: Some therapies may have unintended effects on reproductive health. Paced mating studies with the AniLocus Paced Mating Chamber provide a controlled environment for assessing reproductive toxicity.
  • Insights into Neuroendocrine Pathways: The intricate link between behavior and hormones in paced mating studies offers pharmaceutical researchers a unique window into neuroendocrine pathways involved in reproduction. This knowledge aids in the identification of potential drug targets and the development of compounds that modulate reproductive processes with precision.

Protocol for Paced Mating Studies

This protocol example aims to assess the effects of a novel melanocortin receptor agonist on paced mating behaviors, offering valuable insights into potential therapeutic interventions for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD). Melanocortin receptor agonists for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) typically target the receptors in the hypothalamus and throughout the limbic system, to modulate neural circuits associated with sexual desire and motivation. Follow the steps below to conduct a robust and scientifically rigorous study.

Materials and Equipment

  1. C57BL/6 Mice: Sexually mature males and females of specified age/weight.
  2. AniLocus Paced Mating Chamber: Dimensions tailored for mice (12 inches x 8 inches x 6 inches).
  3. Melanocortin Receptor Agonist: Novel compound to be tested, with detailed information on administration route and dosage.
  4. Behavioral Analysis Software: Real-time data logging system for precise behavioral monitoring with continuous monitoring during experimental sessions. Learn more about our software capabilities.
  5. Hormone Assay Kits: To quantify hormonal fluctuations associated with paced mating. Collected at predetermined time points during and after experimental sessions.
  6. Cameras for Behavioral Recording: High-resolution cameras capable of recording mating behaviors.
    Duration: Continuous recording during experimental sessions during the night, cameras equipped with night-vision.
  7. Blood Collection Tools: Microcentrifuge tubes and syringes for blood sample collection. Predetermined time points during and after experimental sessions.
  8. Temperature and Humidity Controls: Environmental control systems for maintaining optimal conditions. Consistently monitored throughout acclimatization and experimental sessions.
  9. Lighting Control System: Programmable lighting system to simulate 12:12 light-dark cycles and switch to red-light during the dark cycle.
  10. Statistical Software: Software for data analysis and statistical testing (ask us about our software development for Paced Mating Behaviors.
  11. Animal Identification Tags: Individual identification tags for mice (ask us about our animal identification systems that can be used throughout the study to track individual responses.
  12. Experiment-specific Documentation: Detailed protocols, consent forms (if applicable), and record sheets.

Protocol Steps

Step 1. Acclimatization:

  • Allow mice to acclimate to the laboratory environment for a minimum of one week prior to the experiment.
  • Maintain a consistent 12:12 light-dark cycle with controlled temperature and humidity.

Step 2. Grouping and Pairing:

  • Randomly assign sexually mature C57BL/6 mice into experimental and control groups.
  • Ensure equal representation of males and females in each group.
  • Pair individual males with females in the experimental group, administering the melanocortin receptor agonist to the treatment group.

Step 3. Experimental Sessions:

  • Conduct paced mating sessions during the female’s estrous cycle to ensure receptivity (contact AniLocus consultants for experimental planning ideas for these studies)
  • Utilize the AniLocus Paced Mating Chamber for precise behavioral observations.

Step 4. Data Collection:

  • Record and analyze the following parameters (learn more below):
    • Frequency and duration of female-paced approach and withdrawal movements.
    • Duration and frequency of copulatory events.
    • Estrous-specific vocalizations.
    • Any observed aggressive or competitive behaviors.

Step 5. Hormonal Assessment:

  • Collect blood samples at predetermined time points to assess hormonal fluctuations.
  • Employ hormone assay kits to quantify levels of key reproductive hormones (e.g., LH, FSH, estradiol).

Step 6. Statistical Analysis:

  • Utilize appropriate statistical methods (e.g., t-tests, ANOVA) to analyze data.
  • Compare behavioral and hormonal parameters between the experimental and control groups.

Data Analysis of Paced Mating Behaviors


  • Approach Movements: Controlled and deliberate movements towards the male where the frequency and duration of approach behaviors can be measured with the paced matting assay.
  • Withdrawal Movements: Purposeful retreats or movements away from the male. Frequency and duration of withdrawal behaviors.
  • Lordosis Response: Arched-back, submissive posture signaling receptivity to copulation. Duration and frequency of lordosis displays.
  • Estrous-Specific Vocalizations: Vocal signals expressing heightened receptivity during estrus. Frequency and intensity of vocalizations.
  • Solicitation Behaviors: Gestures or postures inviting the male to initiate mating. Occurrence and frequency of solicitation displays.


  • Mounting Attempts: Male-initiated attempts to mount the female for copulation. Frequency and duration of mounting behaviors.
  • Sniffing and Investigative Behaviors: Olfactory investigation and exploration of the female. Duration and frequency of sniffing behaviors.
  • Pacing to Female’s Movements: Male adjusts pace to match the female’s approach and withdrawal movements. Synchronization of pacing with female behaviors.
  • Aggressive or Competitive Behaviors: Competitive interactions with other males, if applicable. Frequency and intensity of aggression during mating attempts.
  • Copulatory Behaviors: Successful copulation events. Duration and frequency of copulatory interactions.

Cross-Behavioral Analysis

  • Interaction Patterns: Sequential analysis of female and male behaviors during the mating encounter. Correlation between female-paced movements and male responses.
  • Temporal Analysis: Timing and sequence of specific behaviors during the mating session. Establishing the temporal relationship between different behaviors.

Neural Pathways & Neurotransmitters Implicated in Sexual Behavior

The regulation of paced mating behaviors in males and females is sexually dimorphic and involves intricate neural pathways and neurotransmitter systems. While the understanding of these pathways is complex and continually evolving, here are some key neural pathways and neurotransmitters associated with paced mating behaviors in rodents:

Neural Pathways and Neurotransmitters in Females:

  1. Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonadal (HPG) Axis:
    • Neural Pathway: Hypothalamic neurons release gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), stimulating the pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
    • Neurotransmitters: GnRH is a key neurotransmitter in this pathway.
  2. Mesolimbic Dopaminergic Pathway:
    • Neural Pathway: Dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and other limbic structures.
    • Neurotransmitters: Dopamine plays a crucial role in reward and motivation associated with mating behaviors.
  3. Oxytocinergic Pathway:
    • Neural Pathway: Oxytocin released from the hypothalamus, acting on the brain regions involved in social and reproductive behaviors.
    • Neurotransmitters: Oxytocin is a key neuropeptide associated with social bonding and maternal behaviors.
  4. Serotonergic Pathways:
    • Neural Pathway: Serotonergic projections from the raphe nuclei to various brain regions, influencing mood and behavioral regulation.
    • Neurotransmitters: Serotonin modulates mood and may impact sexual behaviors.

Neural Pathways and Neurotransmitters in Males:

  1. Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonadal (HPG) Axis:
    • Neural Pathway: Similar to females, with hypothalamic GnRH stimulating the release of LH and FSH from the pituitary gland.
    • Neurotransmitters: GnRH is involved in the regulation of reproductive hormones.
  2. Mesolimbic Dopaminergic Pathway:
    • Neural Pathway: Dopaminergic projections from the VTA to the NAc and other limbic structures.
    • Neurotransmitters: Dopamine plays a role in the rewarding aspects of mating behaviors.
  3. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)ergic Inhibition:
    • Neural Pathway: GABAergic neurons exert inhibitory control on certain brain regions, modulating arousal and behavioral responses.
    • Neurotransmitters: GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in regulating excitability.
  4. Glutamatergic Signaling:
    • Neural Pathway: Glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, is involved in synaptic transmission and plasticity.
    • Neurotransmitters: Glutamate modulates excitatory signaling in neural circuits related to sexual behaviors.
  5. Endorphinergic Pathway:
    • Neural Pathway: Release of endorphins, opioid peptides, in response to sexual stimuli.
    • Neurotransmitters: Endorphins contribute to the regulation of pain perception and may influence sexual reward.

It’s important to note that the neural regulation of mating behaviors is highly complex, and multiple neurotransmitter systems interact within these pathways. Additionally, individual differences, environmental factors, and genetic factors can contribute to variations in behavior and neurotransmitter function. Ongoing research continues to refine our understanding of the neurobiology of sexual behaviors in rodents.

This animal cage is built to monitor and analyze sexual behavior during paced mating with your own camera setup. If you’d like a cage with built-in camera monitoring, check out this product.

Features of the Toledo Paced Mating Chamber

  • Ventilated cage
  • Hinge cage closure
  • Anti-glare treatment to prevent camera glare during night-vision recording
  • Dual feeding and water provided on either side of the cage

Sold Separately


  1. Yoest, K. E., Cummings, J. A., & Becker, J. B. (2019). Ovarian Hormones Mediate Changes in Adaptive Choice and Motivation in Female RatsFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience13, 250. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00250
  2. Portillo, W., & Paredes, R. G. (2019). Motivational Drive in Non-copulating and Socially Monogamous MammalsFrontiers in behavioral neuroscience13, 238. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00238
  3. Burnett, C. J., Funderburk, S. C., Navarrete, J., Sabol, A., Liang-Guallpa, J., Desrochers, T. M., & Krashes, M. J. (2019). Need-based prioritization of behavioreLife8, e44527. doi:10.7554/eLife.44527

Additional information

Weight 10 lbs
Dimensions 18 × 9 × 8 in

Mouse, Rat




There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

You may also like…