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Hormonal control of birth behavior in the Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus harrisii


Rose, RW and Bell, LA and Shaw, G, Hormonal control of birth behavior in the Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus harrisii, Hormones and Behavior, 50, (3) pp. 417-423. ISSN 0018-506X (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2006.05.003


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 F2α (PGF2α) or oxytocin (OT). This study investigated the effects of PGF2α and OT on behavior of Tasmanian devils. Animals tended to sit or lie down quickly, with little vocalization, after treatment with PGF2α 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 PGF2α 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 PGF2α secretion as PGFM levels rose after OT injection. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Comparative physiology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Rose, RW (Associate Professor Randy Rose)
UTAS Author:Bell, LA (Ms Loretta Bell)
ID Code:40228
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2010-04-14

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