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Longitudinal monitoring of plasma and fecal androgens in the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and the spotted tailed quoll(Dasyurus maculatus)


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Hesterman, H and Jones, SM 2009 , 'Longitudinal monitoring of plasma and fecal androgens in the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and the spotted tailed quoll(Dasyurus maculatus)' , Animal Reproduction Science, vol. 112, no. 3-4 , pp. 334-346 , doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2008.05.071.

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Improved knowledge of the breeding biology of carnivorous marsupials is warranted given their
heightened conservation status. Past studies have focused on smaller dasyurids and little is known
of male reproductive physiology in the larger species. This study aimed to characterize the pattern
of androgen concentrations in male devils and spotted-tailed quolls and to evaluate fecal steroid
measurement as a practical, alternative technique for monitoring reproductive activity. Blood and
fecal samples were collected from captive adult devils (n = 6) and adult quolls (n = 8). Plasma
and fecal androgen concentrations were significantly positively correlated. In both species there
was a significant effect of season on androgen concentrations; and the annual increase preceded
female estrus activity. For devils, fecal androgens were elevated during the austral summer: peak
concentrations were observed in January - February, and copulation occurred from late February -
late May. In quolls, fecal androgen concentrations were highest during austral autumn/winter: the
annual increase began in April; copulation occurred from mid-May to early October. The lengthy
period of elevated plasma and fecal androgens and protracted period of the year that mating
activity continued implies a period of extended spermatogenesis in both species.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hesterman, H and Jones, SM
Keywords: marsupial, dasuyrid, testosterone, fecal steroids
Journal or Publication Title: Animal Reproduction Science
ISSN: 0378-4320
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2008.05.071
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