Anogenital scent-marking signals fertility in a captive female Alaotran gentle lemur
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AbstractThe Lake Alaotra gentle lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis) is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world and shows low success rate in captive breeding programmes. It is therefore vital to further understand its reproductive biology. We studied a captive troop consisting of five individuals hosted at Jersey Zoo during breeding and non-breeding periods over one year. We collected behavioural data (n=318 hours) using all occurrences of some behaviours and ad libitum sampling methods, as well as faecal (n=54) and anogenital scent (n=35) samples of the breeding female. We measured sex hormone levels using enzyme immunoassay technique and investigated the volatile component of odour signals using solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. We observed sexual and aggressive behaviours occasionally during the breeding period. Our regression analysis showed that only period significantly predicted rates of female anogenital scent-marking, whereby the female performed anogenital scent-marking more frequently during the breeding rather than the non-breeding period. In contrast, female hormone levels did not significantly explain variation in rates of neither male nor female olfactory, sexual and affiliative behaviours, suggesting that individuals’ behaviour alone is not an effective indicator of the ovulation window. The volatile chemical profile of anogenital odour secretions changed over the study, with four compounds distinguishing the fertile window during the breeding period. In conclusion, our findings suggest that anogenital scent-marking may signal the reproductive status of captive female gentle lemurs.
CitationFontani, S., Kaburu, S., Marliani, G., Accorsi, P.A. and Vaglio, S. (2022) Anogenital scent-marking signals fertility in a captive female Alaotran gentle lemur. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 9, Article Number 940707
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Description© in press The Author. Published by Frontiers Media. This is an open access article available under a Creative Commons licence. The published version can be accessed at the following link on the publisher’s website: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2022.940707/full
SponsorsThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 890341 to S.F. and S.V., and from the Primate Society of Great Britain’s 2021 Captive Care Grant Scheme to S.F. Lab work and publication fees were funded by the University of Wolverhampton’s Research Investment Fund (RIF) scheme – Phase 4 to S.V
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/