The study investigated the role of odor cues from two nakedmole-rat colonies, in conjunction with behavioral cues fromnonbreeding colony members, in maintaining suppression ofovulation in subordinate female naked mole-rats isolated fromthe two parent colonies. Four high ranking nonbreeding femalenaked mole-rats were removed from their respective parentcolonies and singly housed in separate burrow systems. For a64-day period, the removed females were maintained in dailyodor contact with their parent colony by daily rotating soiledbedding material between the parent colony and the burrowsystems of removed females. In addition, subsets of nonbreedinganimals from the respective parent colony were regularly movedinto the burrow systems of removed females for 2-day periodsduring this 64-day period. Removed females were therefore incontinual social contact with subsets of parent colony animalsexcept for the breeding pair. All four removed femalesexhibited raised levels of urinary progesterone (< 2 ng/mg Cr)indicative of the onset of ovarian function within 3 days ofbeing separated from the parent colony. Removed femalesexhibited a normal ovulatory cycle with levels of progesteroneremaining elevated for 25-35 days (mean concentration ofprogesterone +/- SEM; 16.2 +/- 2 ng/mg Cr). initiation ofaggression and sexual behavior by removed females increasedsignificantly when they were isolated from the parent colony.The results demonstrated that odor cues from the completecolony in conjunction with behavioral / tactile / vocal cuesfrom the nonbreeding colony members were not the major cuesmaintaining reproductive suppression in nonbreeding femalenaked mole-rats. Instead, our results suggest that femalereproductive suppression in naked mole-rats is caused by adominance-related behavioral mechanism requiring direct contactwith the breeding female.