Photoperiod and gonadal hormones influence odor preferences of the male meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus


Male meadow voles housed in a long photoperiod (14 h light/day, LP) preferred female to male odors, whereas males maintained in a short photoperiod (10 h light/day, SP) did not display preferences for odors of either sex. These odor-preference patterns matched those of free-living males during spring and autumn, respectively. The preference of LP male voles for female over male odors was eliminated by gonadectomy and reinstated by treatment with testosterone. In SP males, although gonadectomy did not affect odor choices, a preference for female odors was induced by testosterone treatment. Treatment with estradiol did not alter odor preferences of LP or SP males. In conjunction with previous results, the present findings suggest that hormonal responsiveness of neural substrates that control odor preferences are sexually dimorphic and may reflect sex differences in reproductive strategies. © 1992.

Publication Title

Physiology and Behavior