Anogenital scent-marking signals fertility in a captive female Alaotran gentle lemur

Fontani, S., Marliani, G., Kaburu, S.S.K. ORCID: 0000-0001-7456-3269, Accorsi, P.A. and Vaglio, S., 2022. Anogenital scent-marking signals fertility in a captive female Alaotran gentle lemur. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 9: 940707. ISSN 2297-1769

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The 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 1 year. We collected behavioural data (n = 318 h) using all occurrence 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.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Creators: Fontani, S., Marliani, G., Kaburu, S.S.K., Accorsi, P.A. and Vaglio, S.
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Date: 28 July 2022
Volume: 9
ISSN: 2297-1769
Rights: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 17 Oct 2023 10:03
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2023 10:03

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