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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Apr;1163:179-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04449.x.

Hormone-mediated reproductive behavior in the red-bellied newt.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Education and Integrated Sciences, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.


Hormonal involvement in the performance of reproductive behavior of the red-bellied newt Cynops pyrrhogaster is described. The sexually developed male newt is likely to recognize the sexually responsive female newt by a yet unidentified substance released from the oviduct, secretion of this substance being stimulated by prolactin (PRL) and estrogen. At the initial stage of courtship behavior, the male newt vibrates his tail vigorously in front of the female partner. This action is elicited by PRL and androgen and is enhanced by another hormonal factor, arginine vasotocin (AVT). Both PRL and AVT were shown to act centrally to elicit this behavior. A recently discovered neurosteroid, 7alpha-hydroxypregnenolone, was also revealed to be an important factor for eliciting tail vibrating behavior. During courtship, the male newt emits a decapeptide pheromone that attracts the female partner. The synthesis of this attractant by the abdominal gland is promoted by PRL and androgen and its release from the cloaca is elicited by AVT. The responsiveness to the pheromone of the vomeronasal epithelial cells of the female newt is enhanced by PRL and estrogen. Toward the final stage of courtship, the male newts deposits spermatophores, which are picked up through the cloacal orifice of the female newt. AVT induces the discharge of spermatophores from the cloaca. Thus, PRL, AVT, androgen, estrogen, and the neurosteroid, 7alpha-hydroxypregnenolone, are considered to be important factors for the performance of reproductive behavior in the red-bellied newt.

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