The reproductive cycle of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and factors associated with reproductive success in captivity

Keeley, T., O'Brien, J. K., Fanson, B. G., Masters, K. and McGreevey, P. D. (2012) The reproductive cycle of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and factors associated with reproductive success in captivity. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 176 2: 182-191. doi:10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.01.011


Author Keeley, T.
O'Brien, J. K.
Fanson, B. G.
Masters, K.
McGreevey, P. D.
Title The reproductive cycle of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and factors associated with reproductive success in captivity
Formatted title
The reproductive cycle of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and factors associated with reproductive success in captivity
Journal name General and Comparative Endocrinology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0016-6480
1095-6840
Publication date 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.01.011
Open Access Status
Volume 176
Issue 2
Start page 182
End page 191
Total pages 10
Place of publication Maryland Heights, MO, United States
Publisher Academic Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Numbers of wild Tasmanian devils are declining as a result of the fatal, transmissible Devil Facial Tumor Disease. A captive insurance population program has been initiated but current captive breeding rates are sub-optimal and therefore the goal of this project was to increase our understanding of the estrous cycle of the devil and elucidate potential causes of failed male-female pairings. Temporal patterns of fecal progestagen and corticosterone metabolite concentrations were examined for females (n= 41) in three categories of reproductive status (successful: viable young, n= 20 estrous cycles; unsuccessful: paired with a male but no young confirmed, n= 44 estrous cycles; non-mated: no access to a male during estrus, n= 8 estrous cycles) but substantial differences were not found. Females were more likely to produce pouch young if pairing with the male extended into late proestrus (P< 0.05), thereby decreasing the time between pairing and presumed ovulation. The interval between the end of proestrous elevation in progestagen metabolite concentrations and the beginning of the luteal phase was 7.6 ± 2.3. days in successful females. The length of the luteal phase in successful females was 12.5 ± 1.4. days which was not different from unsuccessful or non-mated females (P> 0.05). Unsuccessful females had 1-3 estrous cycles within a single year. Successful females were predominantly wild-caught (17/19, 90%) and most produced young following the first estrous cycle of the season (18/20, 90%). Unsuccessful females were predominantly captive born (20/27, 74%) in this study. It is possible that a proportion of females that do not produce pouch young achieve conception but the timing of reproductive failure continues to be elusive in this species.
Keyword Tasmanian devil
Reproduction
Hormones, sex -- physiological effect
Non-invasive monitoring
Pregnancy
Captive breeding
Dasyurid
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 15 Dec 2014, 12:11:15 EST by Tamara Keeley on behalf of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences