Document Detail

Influence of gonadal sex hormones on behavioral components of the reproductive hierarchy in naked mole-rats.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16537080     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are fossorial, eusocial rodents that live in colonies which typically include 60-80 individuals. Generally, only one of the females and 1-3 of the males in a colony are reproductives. The reproductives engage in mutual genital nuzzling behavior that is rarely exhibited by subordinates (non-reproductives). Thus, genital nuzzling may represent a mechanism of bonding and/or specific recognition between reproductive individuals. We investigated whether gonadal hormones are involved in the maintenance of genital nuzzling behavior and mating behaviors in isolated pairs of mole-rats and also in established breeding pairs of mole-rats within colonies. We also explored whether sex hormone deprivation would alter the strict partner preference for performance of nuzzling within colonies. Our results indicate (a) considerable variation between pairs in the frequency of nuzzling, (b) a reduction in the frequency of nuzzling following castration of the male and restoration of the 'baseline' frequency after replacement of testosterone in castrated males, (c) the failure of either castration or combined castration and ovariectomy to eliminate genital nuzzling in established pairs, and (d) the exhibition of nuzzling behavior by some of the subordinates in all three experimental colonies beginning several weeks after gonadectomy of both of the reproductives. No cases of lordosis behavior were seen during the approximately 109 h of behavioral observations. This is not surprising, since female mole-rats have an approximately 30-day ovulatory cycle, and lordosis only occurs during a peri-ovulatory period of a few hours. A total of 44 cases of mounting behavior were recorded; all these involved breeding males in colonies or males from isolated pairs, and all occurred when males were either gonad-intact or castrated with testosterone replacement. Thus, in contrast to nuzzling behavior, male sex behavior appeared to be eliminated during androgen deprivation.
Sharry L Goldman; Nancy G Forger; Bruce D Goldman
Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2006-03-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  Hormones and behavior     Volume:  50     ISSN:  0018-506X     ISO Abbreviation:  Horm Behav     Publication Date:  2006 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-05-31     Completed Date:  2006-09-05     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0217764     Medline TA:  Horm Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  77-84     Citation Subset:  IM    
Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, 75 North Eagleville Road, U-3043 Storrs, CT 06269-3043, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology*
Mole Rats / physiology*
Reproduction / physiology*
Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Social Dominance*
Social Environment
Statistics, Nonparametric
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Gonadal Steroid Hormones

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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