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Pouch appearance is a reliable indicator of the reproductive status in the Tasmanian devil and the spotted-tailed quoll


Hesterman, H and Jones, SM and Schwarzenberger, F, Pouch appearance is a reliable indicator of the reproductive status in the Tasmanian devil and the spotted-tailed quoll, Journal of Zoology, 275, (2) pp. 130-138. ISSN 0952-8369 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2008.00419.x


Female Tasmanian devils (TDs) Sarcophilus harrisii and spotted-tailed quolls (STQs) Dasyurus maculatus were monitored to assess changes in plasma progesterone and faecal oestrogens/progestagens, vaginal smears and qualitative changes in pouch appearance during the oestrous cycle. Pouch condition was characterized based on size, colour and secretions, and was found to accurately reflect reproductive status, being significantly correlated with changes in both sex steroids and vaginal cytology. During the follicular phase, pouch redness and secretions were maximal, and associated with increased sex steroid concentrations, a karyopyknotic index of >90% and the onset of copulation. Post-ovulation, pouches became wet and deep and developed a glandular appearance; plasma progesterone/faecal progestagen concentrations remained high and sustained throughout the luteal phase. These features were identical during the pregnant and non-pregnant oestrous cycle. This study demonstrated that pouch appearance is a reliable physical indicator of the stage of oestrous in the TD and STQ, and provides an alternative non-invasive method for evaluating the ovarian cycle of these threatened species. This technique can be readily applied to monitor individuals in free-ranging or captive populations, and will aid as a practical tool for improved breeding management. © 2008 The Authors.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Comparative physiology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Hesterman, H (Miss heather Hesterman)
UTAS Author:Jones, SM (Professor Susan Jones)
ID Code:52292
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2008-06-16
Last Modified:2015-02-04

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