The gerbils were exposed to daily I min aggressive encounters for 30 days, to study the effect of social stress on reproduction. The encounters were induced by introduction of an adult male or female gerbil into the cage of a male retired breeder living in isolation. In the male gerbils the encounters decreased (P < 0.001) gonadal weight and sperm counts. The accessory sex organs responded variedly to the encounters. The surface areas of abdominal scent glands decreased (P < 0.001). The results suggest that exposure to aggressive encounters had a negative influence on male reproduction in the gerbil. Contrary to the results in male gerbils, encounters with males had a positive influence on reproduction in females. This was evidenced by data on ovarian and uterine weights, follicular kinetics and the estrous cycle. The ovarian and uterine weights increased (P < 0.001) in gerbils exposed to the encounters. The number of estruses increased (P < 0.001) whereas the diestruses decreased. Study of follicular kinetics revealed an increase in the number of growing follicles and a decrease in the number of regressive follicles. The mechanism(s) by which the encounters influence reproduction is not known. Adrenal gland weights increased (P < 0.001) in both male and female gerbils exposed to the encounters. The pinealocyte cell and nuclear diameters decreased (P < 0.01) in males and increased (P < 0.001) in female gerbils after the encounters. Presumably the adrenal and pineal glands may play an important role mediating the effects of the encounters.