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


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Hesterman, H, Jones, SM and Schwarzenberger, F 2008 , 'Pouch appearance is a reliable indicator of the reproductive status in the Tasmanian devil and the spotted-tailed quoll' , Journal of Zoology, vol. 275, no. 2 , pp. 130-138 , doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2008.00419.x.

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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 490% 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.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hesterman, H and Jones, SM and Schwarzenberger, F
Keywords: marsupial, non-invaseive, reproduciton, progesterone, estrogens
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Zoology
ISSN: 0952-8369
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2008.00419.x
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