Exposure of managed red river hogs (Potamochoerus porcus) to urine from males stimulates estrous cycling and modulates fecal sex steroid metabolites in males and females
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For unknown reasons, reproductive success varies among zoos in managed red river hogs. In response to urine exposure from novel conspecifics, we hypothesized that males with low libido would exhibit increased concentrations of testosterone metabolites and that acyclic and/or non-breeding females would be induced to cycle or cycle more regularly. Estrous cycle length and progesterone metabolites in same-sex housed females were compared prior to and following exposure to novel red river hog male urine. Male testosterone metabolites and female progesterone metabolites as well as estrous cycle length were compared among: 1) proven-breeder females and males; 2) non-breeding females newly paired with novel males; 3) non-breeding females and males exposed to urine from novel females and males. Fecal samples were collected 3-5 times per week for eight to 12 months, lyophilized, extracted, and assayed for progesterone and testosterone metabolites with validated enzyme immunoassays. Introduction of female urine resulted in an increased number of estrous cycles per female per month, and decreased luteal and increased follicular progesterone metabolites in females. Introduction of male urine resulted in an increase in testosterone metabolites in males. Average progesterone metabolites for pregnant proven-breeder females were more than double that for pregnant females newly paired to novel males. An interaction between season and treatment group, as well as the acyclicity of females from July through November irrespective of treatment group, suggest that season may confound and warrant judicious interpretation of the results. Additionally, females housed with pregnant females were either acyclic or did not carry their pregnancies to term, indicating that reproductive suppression may occur in females. In conclusion, urine may be a cost-effective and efficient means to manipulate estrous cycling in managed red river hogs. Furthermore, careful consideration of the number of females in a managed herd is recommended to avoid reproductive suppression.
author list (cited authors)
Goblet, C., Lewis, B., Jacobsen, V., Jarboe, M., Silva, D., Penfold, L., & Newell-Fugate, A. E.
complete list of authors
Goblet, Camille||Lewis, Bryce||Jacobsen, Victoria||Jarboe, Monica||Silva, Dameriss||Penfold, Linda||Newell-Fugate, Annie E