Anosmia was produced in two female and three male wolves by transection of the olfactory peduncle and was confirmed by their inability to detect meat, urine, feces, anal-gland secretions, and fish emulsion. All operated animals continued to investigate the environment with their noses, to interact normally with other pack members, and to feed at levels which maintained presurgical body weights. No effect was found on reproductive physiology (females: estradiol or progesterone concentrations, ovulation, pregnancy or parturition; males: testosterone, testicular recrudescence or sperm numbers, motility or maturation). One anosmic female became dominant and although she urine-marked with a flexed leg, the rate was lower than typical for dominant females and perhaps contributed to her failure to pair-bond with the dominant male. One anosmic male raised-leg-urinated while competing for pack dominance and when kenneled away from other males. Precopulatory, copulatory, and maternal behavior were observed for one anosmic female and appeared normal. However, neither male that was sexually naive before surgery showed interest in proestrous or estrous females. The possibility that secondary degeneration of brain regions mediating sexual behavior was responsible for the failure of these males to respond was not supported. Not only was the lack of male sexual response the only serious deficit following transection, but the male which was sexually experienced prior to surgery did copulate successfully during his second postoperative breeding season despite continued anosmia. Chemosensory priming from female urine during the protracted proestrous phase, as well as urinary and vaginal odors during estrus, appear to be critical for induction of full sexual potency in sexually naive males. The importance of urine and vaginal secretions in the sexual response of experienced males is uncertain.
Additional publication details
Effect of anosmia on reproduction in male and female wolves (Canis lupus)