Document Detail

Endocrine patterns of the estrous cycle and pregnancy of wildebeest in the Serengeti ecosystem.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20036667     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Despite the importance of the western white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi) to the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, surprisingly little is known about the reproductive physiology of this keystone species. A longitudinal, non-invasive endocrine study was conducted on female wildebeest captured from the Serengeti-Mara migration and maintained for approximately 16 months in large fenced enclosures within the species' natural range. An intact bull was introduced to a female subgroup (n=5), while remaining females (n=10) were unexposed to a male. Fecal progestagen patterns reflected ovarian activity and pregnancy. In non-pregnant animals, luteal and inter-luteal baseline progestagen values differed (p<0.001) over time, thereby allowing identification of recurrent estrous cycles. The average durations of the luteal phase, estrous cycle, gestation, and post-partum anestrus were 14.3+/-0.5, 22.6+/-1.0, 240.8+/-11.7, and 104.1+/-15.6 d, respectively. Annual reproductive patterns indicated a distinctive period of ovarian activity that extended from 13 May through 3 December (203.5+/-29.9 d) with all unmated females displaying from one to 14 estrous cycles. Progestagens were higher (p <0.001) in pregnant (n=4) than non-pregnant (n=10) cows. These data (1) reveal the value of fecal hormone monitoring for establishing the first ever endocrine profiles of female wildebeest in semi-free-living conditions in their native range, and (2) indicate that the species is a seasonal breeder that is polyestrous and a spontaneous ovulator.
A Moss Clay; R D Estes; K V Thompson; D E Wildt; S L Monfort
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2009-12-29
Journal Detail:
Title:  General and comparative endocrinology     Volume:  166     ISSN:  1095-6840     ISO Abbreviation:  Gen. Comp. Endocrinol.     Publication Date:  2010 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-03-08     Completed Date:  2010-05-24     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370735     Medline TA:  Gen Comp Endocrinol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  365-71     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
(c) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Conservation & Research Center, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution, 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Estrous Cycle / metabolism*
Feces / chemistry
Luteal Phase / metabolism
Progestins / analysis,  metabolism*
Reproduction / physiology*
Ruminants / metabolism*
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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