Effects of lesions of nucleus taeniae on appetitive and consummatory aspects of male sexual behavior in Japanese quail

Philippe Absil, Jean Baptiste Braquenier, Jacques Balthazart, Gregory F. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neurochemical, hodological and functional criteria suggest that the nucleus taeniae and parts of the adjacent archistriatum represent the avian homologue of parts of the mammalian amygdaloid complex. It has been proposed in particular that the nucleus taeniae is the homologue of the mammalian medial amygdala. In male quail, relatively large lesions to the posterior/medial archistriatum selectively decrease the expression of appetitive sexual behavior in a manner reminiscent of similar manipulations involving the medial amygdala in mammals. We investigated the effects of discrete lesions restricted to nucleus taeniae and of lesions to an adjacent part of the archistriatum (pars intermedium ventralis, AIv) on the expression of appetitive (ASB) and consummatory (CSB) aspects of male sexual behavior. ASB was measured by a learned social proximity response (after copulation a male quail stands in front of a window providing visual access to a female) and by the frequency of rhythmic cloacal sphincter movements. CSB was assessed by the frequency of mount attempts (MA) and cloacal contact movements (CCM). Lesions confined to nucleus taeniae and to AIv did not influence the acquisition or the maintenance of the two responses indicative of ASB. In contrast, lesions of nucleus taeniae significantly increased the occurrence frequencies of MA and CCM when administered before the beginning of behavior testing and increased the frequency of MA only when performed on sexually experienced subjects. No effect of AIv lesions could be detected. The discrepancy between these results and previous experiments in quail might reflect procedural differences, but more probably differences in locations of the lesions that were restricted in the current study to the anterior part of taeniae. Those in the Thompson study were in the posterior part of this nucleus. These findings indicate that there is a larger degree of functional heterogeneity in the nucleus taeniae than previously thought. The effects of taeniae lesions suggest that this nucleus, similar to the medial amygdala in mammals, might be implicated in the control of sexual satiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-35
Number of pages23
JournalBrain, Behavior and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 9 2002


  • Amygdala
  • Archistriatum
  • Birds
  • Coturnix japonica
  • Quail
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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