Rabbit Nipple-Search Pheromone Versus Rabbit Mammary Pheromone Revisited

  • Robyn Hudson
  • Carolina Rojas
  • Lourdes Arteaga
  • Margarita Martínez-Gómez
  • Hans Distel


Among mammals, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) show unusually limited maternal care and only nurse for a few minutes once each day. Successful suckling depends on pheromonal cues on the mother’s ventrum, which release a stereotyped and distinctive pattern of nipple-search behaviour in the young, and which have been termed the nipple-search pheromone. The present report summarizes what is currently known about this unusually effective chemical signal and compares this with information in more recent reports of a rabbit mammary pheromone thought to achieve the same function. We draw attention to anomalies in the present state of knowledge regarding the nature and action of these two sets of chemical signals, and thus to the continuing uncertainty as to the chemical nature and source of the cues governing nipple-search behaviour, and thus successful suckling, in the newborn rabbit.


Maternal Care Chemical Signal Oryctolagus Cuniculus Newborn Rabbit Domestic Rabbit 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media,LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robyn Hudson
    • 1
  • Carolina Rojas
  • Lourdes Arteaga
  • Margarita Martínez-Gómez
  • Hans Distel
  1. 1.Inst Invest BiomédicasUniv Nac Autónoma de México04510 Distrito FederalMexico

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