Flehmen Behavior and Vomeronasal Organ Function

  • Benjamin L. Hart


The flehmen or lip-curl behavior displayed by males of most ungulate and felid species is a prominent, but poorly understood, aspect of sociosexual behavior. The behavior is sexually dimorphic in that it is seen much more frequently in males than females during sexual encounters. Also it appears to be under gonadal androgen control since it occurs most frequently during the rutting season and castration reduces the occurrence of flehmen. Males typically display the behavior following olfactory investigation of the anogenital area or freshly voided urine of females. Most theories, and the experimental information available regarding flehmen, have related the behavior to the role of the vomeronasal organ (VNO) in chemosensory detection of estrus.


Nasal Cavity Hard Palate Male Sexual Behavior Female Urine Male Goat 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin L. Hart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiological Sciences School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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