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Social Control of the Ovarian Cycle and the Function of Estrous Synchrony

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/21.1.243 243-256 First published online: 1 February 1981


SYNOPSIS. The social signals among groups of females can either enhance or suppress ovariancyclicity. The ovarian cycle is not unitary, but is instead the integrated product of several different components which are each affected by social signals of different modalities. This interaction between female behavior and ovarian cycle components has different manifestations in different species. Depending on its temporal context and the social and physical environment, the same behavior/hormone interaction can take different forms. In some contexts, these interactions can be adaptive for the individual. In others, they can generate a strong epiphenomenon or artifact that may not confer a direct adaptive advantage itself, but still be necessary for other aspects of the coordination between social behavior and reproduction.

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