Assessment of reproductive status in male echidnas

Johnston, S. D., Nicolson, V., Madden, C., Logie, S., Pyne, M., Roser, A., Lisle, A. T. and D'Occhio, M. (2007) Assessment of reproductive status in male echidnas. Animal Reproduction Science, 97 1-2: 114-127. doi:10.1016/j.anireprosci.2005.12.016

Author Johnston, S. D.
Nicolson, V.
Madden, C.
Logie, S.
Pyne, M.
Roser, A.
Lisle, A. T.
D'Occhio, M.
Title Assessment of reproductive status in male echidnas
Journal name Animal Reproduction Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0378-4320
Publication date 2007-01
Year available 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2005.12.016
Volume 97
Issue 1-2
Start page 114
End page 127
Total pages 14
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier Science
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subject C1
300402 Animal Reproduction
630000 - Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
0608 Zoology
Abstract This study reports the development and application of techniques to assess the reproductive status of male echidnas. The pattern of testosterone secretion over a 24-h period in five echidnas was documented. Testosterone secretion after injection i.m. of either 1000 IU hCG (n = 4) or 4 mu g GnRH agonist (n = 6) was determined to establish whether this could be used as a practical index of the prevailing steroidogenic capacity of the testes. hCG (1000IU) was also used to assess seasonal changes in testosterone secretion in six echidnas over a 13-month period. Seasonal changes in testicular Volume were examined by transabdominal ultrasonography. Electroejaculation was attempted to monitor seasonal changes in sperm production, which was also determined by spermatorrhea. There was no apparent diurnal pattern of testosterone secretion in echidnas and circulating concentrations of testosterone remained relatively low (maximum 1.2 ng/mL) and stable over 24 h. Injection of hCG resulted in an increase (P < 0.01; n = 4) in testosterone concentration with a peak (2.9 +/- 0.3 ng/mL) approximately 4 h after injection. GnRH also induced an increase (P < 0.01; n = 6) in circulating testosterone that was apparent after 1 h (2.6 +/- 0.3 ng/mL) and concentrations remained elevated (3.4 +/- 0.3 ng/mL) for up to 8 h after injection. Seasonal changes in testosterone secretion determined after injection of hCG, increased (P = 0.03; n = 6) from late-autumn, peaked in late-winter, and decreased by early-spring. Testicular volume followed a similar seasonal pattern (P < 0.01; n = 6) with an increase from late-autumn, peak in winter and a decline in mid-spring. There was no seasonal change in live weight. Electroejaculation was attempted throughout two breeding seasons but no semen was obtained. Spermatorrhoea in the echidna was described for the first time and was subsequently used to assess seasonal sperm production. Spermatozoa were found in the urine from June to September. This study has demonstrated that exogenous hormones can be used to obtain an index of the prevailing steroidogenic capacity of the testes in echidnas, which is not apparent with repetitive non-stimulated samples over 24 h. The assessment of testosterone secretion after injection of trophic hormones provides a valuable and practical procedure for the assessment of reproductive status. Testicular ultrasonography and spermatorrhea are useful in assessing reproductive status and in this study were successfully used to determine seasonal reproduction in captive echidnas. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keyword Agriculture, Dairy & Animal Science
Reproductive Biology
Short-beaked echidna
Seasonal reproduction
Short-beaked Echidna
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 10 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 20 Dec 2007, 14:11:34 EST by Laura McTaggart on behalf of School of Animal Studies