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Hormonal control of birth behavior in the Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus harrisii
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-16, 18:04 authored by Rose, RW, Bell, LA, Shaw, G
In a number of marsupial species, females exhibit characteristic, stereotyped parturient behavior that facilitates the passage of the neonates to the pouch. In macropodids, this parturient behavior can be induced in non-pregnant females and males by treatment with either prostaglandin F2Î± (PGF2Î±) or oxytocin (OT). This study investigated the effects of PGF2Î± and OT on behavior of Tasmanian devils. Animals tended to sit or lie down quickly, with little vocalization, after treatment with PGF2Î± or OT, while after saline, the animals remained alert, seldom sat, and frequently vocalized. Hormone treatment caused increased respiration. Urogenital and pouch grooming, a characteristic element of parturient behavior in macropodids, was seen in only one devil after hormone treatment. However, no pouch or urogenital grooming was seen in videotape of a devil giving birth, so this may not be a feature of parturient behavior in this species. Overall behavior of males and females was very similar suggesting that the behavioral effects observed may be due to direct neural action of PGF2Î± or OT, rather than an indirect response to uterine or vaginal contractions caused by the hormones. This study is the first to demonstrate that OT results in PGF2Î± secretion as PGFM levels rose after OT injection. Â© 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Publication titleHormones and Behavior
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
PublisherAcademic Press Inc
Place of publicationUSA