Cohabitation impaired physiology, fitness and sex-related chemosignals in golden hamsters

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Biological Sciences

Publication Date



This study investigated the impact of long-term paternal presence (cohabitation) on several physiological parameters such as body weight, adrenal weight, cortisol of parents, and the survival of pups compared with brief daily encounters (isolation) of male–female pairs in golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). We showed that females were affected more by cohabitation as evidenced by increased body and adrenal weights, elevated cortisol concentrations, and heavier uteri and spleens as compared with cohabiting male and isolated females. Furthermore, we found that tetradecanoic and hexadecanoic acids of the flank glands were sexually dimorphic, for which they were putative female pheromones. These two compounds were suppressed in females and elevated in males by cohabitation, suggesting that cohabitation impaired sex chemosignals. Overall, we concluded that housing females and males together had deleterious effects on adults and the survival of their pups in the golden hamster.


This article was originally published in Physiology & Behavior. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Physiology & Behavior


Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.