Female familiarity influences odor preferences and plasma estradiol levels in the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus

  • Fortier G
  • Erskine M
  • Tamarin R
  • 3


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 6


    Citations of this article.


To determine whether neighbor familiarity can affect reproduction, we studied the relationship between familiarity, odor preference, and plasma estradiol levels in the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus. Bedding was switched between pairs of female meadow voles for 2 wk to allow them to develop olfactory familiarity. When familiarization was complete animals were reexposed, after 24 h of no exposure to conspecific odors, to either the bedding of the familiar female or to the bedding of a new, unfamiliar female. Voles exposed to the bedding of unfamiliar females experienced a dramatic reversal in odor preference and failed to orient towards male odors. This behavioral change was accompanied by a significant decrease in plasma estradiol levels. These changes suggest that exposure to unfamiliar conspecifics may result in reproductive inhibition. Excessive contact between unfamiliar females in the field may be indicative of environmental conditions unfavorable to breeding.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Estradiol
  • Familiarity
  • Odor preference
  • Reproduction
  • Voles

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Gary M. Fortier

  • Mary S. Erskine

  • Robert H. Tamarin

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free