, Volume 23, Issue 9, pp 2079-2091

Response of Male Domestic Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) to Inguinal Gland Secretion from Intact and Ovariectomized Females

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Abstract

European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) of both sexes possess a variety of skin glands important in chemical communication. These include sizable inguinal glands, the strong-smelling secretion from which accumulates in conspicuous pouches of skin on either side of the genital opening. To test the hypothesis that this secretion advertises sexual receptivity in females, inguinal gland secretions from nine intact and six ovariectomized females were presented on dummy rabbits or in a simultaneous choice paradigm, and the responses of nine stud males to these secretions were recorded. Although the males clearly perceived the stimuli, no differences in responses to secretions from the intact and ovariectomized does were observed, and no differences were found in the size, weight, or secretory activity of the does' glands. It is concluded that inguinal gland secretion plays little role in communicating sexual receptivity in female rabbits and that ovarian steroids play little part in regulating inguinal gland activity.