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maternal behavior

the actions of females associated with caring for their young. These can range from feeding or nursing to protection, thermoregulation, and teaching skills to the young. Its exact expression, however, depends on a number of factors, including the developmental status of the young at birth, levels of various hormones (e.g., estrogen, oxytocin, progesterone, prolactin), and environmental influences. The analogous male behavior is known as paternal behavior. See also parental behavior.
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