Seasonal reproduction in the eastern rock elephant-shrew : influenced by rainfall and ambient temperature?

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dc.contributor.author Medger, Katarina
dc.contributor.author Chimimba, Christian Timothy
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.date.accessioned 2012-12-12T06:11:54Z
dc.date.available 2013-12-31T00:20:05Z
dc.date.issued 2012-12
dc.description.abstract Because environmental conditions vary seasonally in most regions, many small mammals reproduce at a specific time of the year to maximize their reproductive success. In the tropics and subtropics, the breeding season is usually determined by the extent of the dry and rainy seasons. We investigated the seasonality of reproduction in the eastern rock elephant-shrew (Elephantulus myurus), over a 12-month period and attempted to elucidate the factors that may influence seasonal reproduction in this endemic African mammal. E. myurus breeds seasonally during the warm and wet spring and summer months and cessation of breeding occurs during the cold and dry winter months of the southern hemisphere. Pregnant females were only collected from August through to January. Ovarian size and plasma progesterone started to increase a few months prior to the first rains, were highest in October and decreased thereafter. Follicular growth and corpora body numbers corresponded to this seasonal reproductive pattern. Testes and seminiferous tubule size and plasma testosterone concentration has already started to increase during the coldest months, 2 months prior to reproductive onset in females. We propose that seasonal reproduction evolved in E. myurus because of seasonally changing food availability brought about by severe seasonal changes in rainfall and ambient temperature. The direct effects of rainfall and ambient temperature on reproduction of E. myurus are ambiguous, and we discuss other environmental factors that may trigger reproductive onset in this species. en
dc.description.sponsorship A South African Research Chair of Mammalian Behavioural Ecology and Physiology awarded to N.C. Bennett by the National Research Foundation (NRF). K. Medger acknowledges a doctoral grant from the NRF. en
dc.description.uri http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1469-7998 en
dc.identifier.citation Medger, K, Chimimba, CT & Bennett, NC 2012, 'Seasonal reproduction in the eastern rock elephant-shrew : influenced by rainfall and ambient temperature?', Journal of Zoology, vol. 288, No. 4, pp. 283-293. en
dc.identifier.issn 0952-8369 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1469-7998 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2012.00954.x.
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/20676
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Wiley-Blackwell en
dc.rights © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Zoology © 2012 The Zoological Society of London en
dc.subject Elephantulus myurus en
dc.subject Macroscelidea en
dc.subject Afrotheria en
dc.subject Gonadal growth en
dc.subject Rainy season en
dc.subject Ambient temperature en
dc.subject Food availability en
dc.subject Southern hemisphere en
dc.subject.lcsh Elephant shrews -- Reproduction en
dc.subject.lcsh Theriogenology en
dc.subject.lcsh Sexual behavior in animals en
dc.title Seasonal reproduction in the eastern rock elephant-shrew : influenced by rainfall and ambient temperature? en
dc.type Postprint Article en


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