Estrogen and Progesterone Interactions Influencing Sexual and Social-Behavior in the Brown Lemming, Lemmus-Trimucronatus
The effects of estrogen and progesterone on the social and sexual behavior of brown lemmings, Lemmus trimucronatus, were investigated. The behavior of hormone-treated and untreated ovariectomized females and sexually vigorous males was observed in six consecutive daily 5-min dyadic encounters. Sexual receptivity, as measured by lordosis, and other social behaviors including nasonasal contact, boxing postures, allogrooming, perineal investigation, and male mounting increased following 48 hr of exposure to daily injections of 0.5 ?g estradiol benzoate (EB). Lordosis in EB-primed females was not facilitated or inhibited by short-term (4 hr) exposure to 0.5 mg progesterone (P). Long-term (greater than 24 hr) exposure to P apparently inhibited lordosis and other social behaviors in EB-treated females, although males continued to attempt to mount these females. In EB-treated females a dramatic increase in threat-leaps, directed by the female toward the male, was observed within 4 hr of P injection. Threat-leaps declined when P was withdrawn. Threat-leaps were also observed in ovariectomized females after prolonged exposure to P only (0.5 mg/day). Vaginal perforation and cornification were first apparent 48 hr after EB injection. P-alone treated ovariectomized females also showed vaginal perforation but cornified cells were infrequent and these animals did not show lordosis.