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Non-invasive monitoring of male and female numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus: Myrmecobiidae) reproductive activity

Hogan, L.A., Lisle, A.T., Valentine, L., Johnston, S.D. and Robertson, H. (2012) Non-invasive monitoring of male and female numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus: Myrmecobiidae) reproductive activity. Animal Reproduction Science, 133 (3-4). pp. 237-245.

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The reproductive endocrinology of the highly endangered numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) is described for the first time. Patterns of faecal steroid secretion (progesterone [PM], oestradiol-17β [E2] and testosterone [TM] metabolites) were examined within a captive numbat population over 1 year and revealed a highly synchronized seasonal pattern of reproduction. TM secretion increased progressively from September to November, peaked in December and then decreased in February. All females displayed luteal phases (1-3), between late-November to late-March, in association with pregnant (Pr, n= 4), non-productive mated oestrous cycles (NMEC, n= 8) and non-mated oestrous cycles (NEC, n= 6). The mean oestrous cycle length was 30.2 ± 1.1. d (n= 11) and was comprised of a mean follicular (n= 11) and luteal (n= 18) phase length of 16.2 ± 1.6. d and 14.0 ± 0.8. d, respectively. No variation in mean luteal phase length or PM concentration according to cycle type (Pr, NMEC, NEC) or cycle number (1st, 2nd or 3rd cycle) was detected. Longitudinal profiling of PM secretion confirmed that the female numbat is seasonally polyoestrous and that the luteal phase occurs spontaneously. Changes in the secretion of E2 provided little instructive information on oestrous cycle activity. Mating success was 31%, with age and subject having no effect on mating success. Timing of introduction, of male to female, appeared to impact mating success, with paired animals introduced for a shorter time frame (≤14. d) prior to the first observed mating successfully producing young. Collectively, results of the present study confirm that PM and TM can be reliably used to index numbat reproductive activity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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