Some studies report seasonal patterns of testicular function in male rhesus monkeys even when they are housed away from females, while others suggest that exposure to sexually active females is essential for male seasonality. We conducted the present experiment (1) to test claims that seasonal testicular activation occurs in the absence of females and (2) to determine whether regular exposure to and copulation with females enhances, or is without effect upon, seasonal increases in testicular function. We studied two groups of male monkeys housed in a colony room containing no females. Males in the Female Exposure group ( n = 7) were paired twice weekly with estradiol-implanted females and copulated vigorously. Males in the second group ( n = 7) were placed in the same test chamber (at least 16 h after it had been scrubbed with disinfectant) but were never exposed to females. Serum testosterone levels and testis volume were monitored for both groups. Each group displayed a seasonal pattern of testosterone and of testis volume comparable in timing and magnitude to seasonal increases previously reported in group-housed males, but the two groups did not differ from each other. Our findings confirm that seasonal changes in testosterone and testis size occur in the absence of sexual interaction and demonstrate that moderate levels of sexual activity do not enhance this response.
Hormones and Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 1996
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