Document Detail

Diagnosing pregnancy in free-ranging dugongs using fecal progesterone metabolite concentrations and body morphometrics: A population application.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22387986     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Assessing reproductive status and monitoring reproductive rates is important in the effective management of vulnerable marine mammal species such as the dugong (Dugong dugon). Knowledge of the reproductive physiology of this species is limited, and determining reproductive parameters (e.g., sexual maturation, pregnancy, and reproductive senescence) has been restricted by a lack of non-lethal methods for assessing reproductive status in free-ranging individuals. The aim of this study was to develop a method to identify pregnant individuals in a wild dugong population. Using an enzymeimmunoassay, we quantified concentrations of fecal progesterone metabolites (fP) in 322 dugongs, including confirmed pregnant females (n=10), presumed non-pregnant adult females (n=25), juvenile females (n=24), subadult females (n=41), adult females of unknown pregnancy state (n=63), and males of all sizes (n=159). External body morphometrics of each dugong were measured, and confirmation of pregnancy in adult female dugongs was determined by ultrasonography or observation of subsequent neonates. Concentrations of fP were different between sexes and reproductive size classes (P<0.001), and ∼30-fold higher in confirmed pregnant dugongs (2017-7760ng/g) compared to presumed non-pregnant females (30-221ng/g), juvenile females (29-195ng/g), and males (24-261ng/g) (P<0.001). Body measures of maximum and anal girths, and teat length were all greater in confirmed pregnant females than presumed non-pregnant females (all P<0.05). We evaluated a Discriminant Function Analysis (DFA) to provide a model for predicting pregnant and non-pregnant dugongs. Cross-validated results showed that the DFA correctly classified 100% of pregnant and non-pregnant females using fP concentrations, body length, fineness ratio (an index of body shape), and teat length (a female reproductive trait). Using the DFA model, we classified the pregnancy status of all female dugongs and identified a total of 30 females as pregnant and 133 females as non-pregnant from the sampled population over the sample period. Pregnant dugongs in the Moreton Bay population are characterized by fecal progesterone metabolite concentrations>1000ng/g, body length⩾260cm, maximum girth⩾215cm, anal girth⩾126cm, and teat length⩾5cm long. In summary, analysis of fP concentrations in combination with body morphometrics may be used to diagnose pregnancy in free-ranging dugongs, and provides a new tool to monitor breeding rates of wild sirenian populations.
Elizabeth A Burgess; Janet M Lanyon; Janine L Brown; David Blyde; Tamara Keeley
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-2-24
Journal Detail:
Title:  General and comparative endocrinology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1095-6840     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2012 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-3-5     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370735     Medline TA:  Gen Comp Endocrinol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc.
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.
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