The effects of stimuli associated with conspecific laboratory populations on parameters of sexual maturation in Peromyscus leucopus were examined. Beginning at birth, experimental litters were exposed to the constant infusion of urine, feces, and other material from the populations through a metabolism funnel into their cages. As evidenced by age at first vaginal estrus, experimental females matured later than controls. They also had lighter weight reproductive organs. Testis weights were much greater in control than experimental males. These data suggest that stimuli from populations of P. leucopus can inhibit reproductive maturation of conspecifics. In view of the well-documented effects of chemical stimuli on reproductive maturation and function in other rodents, it is suggested that chemical stimuli in the feces, urine, or from other sources mediated the reproductive inhibition observed in this study.
Additional publication details
Influence of stimuli from populations of Peromyscus leucopus on maturation of young