Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 23, Issue 9, pp 2079-2091

First online:

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

  • Patricia OrdinolaAffiliated withCentro de Investigaciones Fisiológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala
  • , Margarita Martínez-GómezAffiliated withCentro de Investigaciones Fisiológicas, Universidad Autónoma de TlaxcalaInstituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • , Jorge ManzoAffiliated withInstituto de Neuroetología, Universidad Veracruzana
  • , Robyn HudsonAffiliated withCentro de Investigaciones Fisiológicas, Universidad Autónoma de TlaxcalaInstitut für Medizinische Psychologie, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


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.

Chemical communication inguinal gland secretion female rabbit ovariectomy sexual attraction