Reproductive biology of captive Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons). Part 1: Oestrous cycle characterisation

Reproductive biology of captive Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons). Part 1: Oestrous cycle characterisation

We had the pleasure of collaborating with the University of Queensland on this research project. Our collaborative work was published by the CSIRO in 2018, in the journal of Reproduction, Fertility, and Development.

To read the full article, please click here.

Also available online at CSIRO.

doi: 10.1071/RD17497

Abstract

Southern hairy-nosed wombats (SHNWs: Lasiorhinus latifrons) do not breed well in captivity. To better understand their reproduction, daily urine samples were collected from nine captive females and analysed for volume (mL), specific gravity and a qualitative index of the number of epithelial cells, then stored at -20°C until samples could be analysed for progesterone metabolites (P4M). The mean oestrous cycle length was 35.1±2.4 days; however, individual cycle length ranged from 23 to 47 days.

The mean luteal phase length was 20.8±1.3 days (range: 12 to 33 days). Urinary P4M was divided into four oestrous cycle stages: (1) early follicular phase, (2) late follicular phase, (3) early luteal phase, (4) late luteal phase, and analysed against urinary characteristics. During the late follicular phase, urine volume decreased (P=0.002) while urine specific gravity (P=0.001) and concentration of epithelial cells (P=0.004) both increased.

The level of variability in oestrous cycle length suggests that some captive females may exhibit abnormal cycles; however, the changes in the urinary characteristics associated with the different stages of the oestrous cycle appear to offer a possible non-invasive means of monitoring the reproductive status of captive SHNWs.

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