Seasonal and circadian variation of the sexual behavior of Morada Nova rams in tropical environment


R. Bras. Zootec.




The objective of this study was to evaluate the seasonal and daily variation in sexual behavior of Morada Nova breeders raised in the Brazilian semi-arid region. The data were collected from four rams and 114 ewes of the Morada Nova breed - 55 females in the dry season and another 59 in the rainy season. Observations were performed in the dry and rainy seasons, divided into four times of the day: morning (05:01 h to 11.00 h), afternoon (11.01 h to 17.00 h), evening (17.01 h to 23:00 h), and dawn (23:01 h to 05.00 h). Sexual behavior was assessed for a period of 24 h/day, in a breeding season. One ram was used each three days. The behavioral patterns of the rams in view of females were observed during the recognition (sniffing the female urine, bouts of anogenital sniffing, and flehmen reaction), preparatory (exposure of tongue and penis, leg-kicking, and low-pitched bleats), and copulatory (number of mounts, number of ejaculations, and refractory period) phases. The rams were more active during daytime. The animals in the rainy season showed more efficient sexual behaviors by the lower frequency of mounts per ejaculation and greater number of ejaculations in a shorter time. In contrast, courting behaviors such as exposure of tongue, number of mounts, low-pitched bleats, and leg-kicking were more frequent in the dry season. In the semi-arid region with latitudes close to 7°N, Morada Nova rams have a higher intensity of precopulatory behaviors and lower frequency of ejaculations in the dry season.

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