Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford


  • Juan ScheunEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_282-1



Reproduction can be an energetically expensive, complex, and risky phase within a female’s life history cycle (Hazlerigg and Simonneaux 2015). To assist during these demanding periods, the adult female reproductive system has evolved numerous mechanisms to enhance reproductive success (Weems et al. 2015). One such mechanism in female mammals, excluding the old world monkeys, great apes, and humans, is estrus. Estrus is defined as “the periodic state of excitement in the female of most mammals that immediately precedes ovulation and during which the female is most receptive to mating; heat” (The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary 2004) and includes a number of endo- and exogenous factors, as well as behavioral components. The occurrence of estrus can be divided into three categories: polyestrous, seasonal polyestrous, and monoestrous. Polyestrous species have a succession of estrous periods throughout a single sexual season, while seasonal...
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Zoological GardenSouth African National Biodiversity InstitutePretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Mammal Research InstituteDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

Section editors and affiliations

  • Constance Dubuc
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK