Translator Disclaimer
4 April 2012 Protracted Reproductive Seasonality in the Male Giant Panda ( Ailuropoda melanoleuca) Reflected by Patterns in Androgen Profiles, Ejaculate Characteristics, and Selected Behaviors
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

The female giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) experiences a brief (24–72 h) seasonal estrus, occurring once annually in spring (February–May). Our aim was to determine the existence and temporal profile of reproductive seasonality in the male of this species. The study was facilitated by 3 yr of access to eight giant panda males living in a large breeding center in China. Seasonal periods for the male were defined on the basis of female reproductive activity as prebreeding, breeding (early, peak, late), and nonbreeding seasons. Testes size, fecal androgen excretion, ejaculated sperm density, and frequency of reproductive behaviors (i.e., locomotion, scent marking, vocalizations) increased (P < 0.05) from the prebreeding period (October 1–January 31) to the early breeding season (February 1–March 21). Testes volume and sperm concentration were maximal from March 22 through April 15, a period coinciding with maximal female breeding activity. The occurrence of male reproductive behaviors and fecal androgen concentrations began declining during peak breeding and continued from April 16 through May 31 (late breeding period), returning to nadir throughout the nonbreeding interval (June 1–September 30). Reproductive quiescence throughout the latter period was associated with basal testes size/volume and aspermic ejaculates. Our results reveal that testes morphometry, fecal androgen excretion, seminal quality, and certain behaviors integrated together clearly demonstrate reproductive seasonality in the male giant panda. The coordinated increases in testes size, androgen production, sperm density, and sexual behaviors occur over a protracted interval, likely to prepare for and then accommodate a brief, unpredictable female estrus.

© 2012 by the Society for the Study of Reproduction, Inc.
Copper Aitken-Palmer, Rong Hou, Caitlin Burrell, Zhihe Zhang, Chengdong Wang, Rebecca Spindler, David E. Wildt, Mary Ann Ottinger, and JoGayle Howard "Protracted Reproductive Seasonality in the Male Giant Panda ( Ailuropoda melanoleuca) Reflected by Patterns in Androgen Profiles, Ejaculate Characteristics, and Selected Behaviors," Biology of Reproduction 86(6), (4 April 2012). https://doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod.112.099044
Received: 10 January 2012; Accepted: 1 March 2012; Published: 4 April 2012
JOURNAL ARTICLE
PAGES

This article is only available to subscribers.
It is not available for individual sale.
+ SAVE TO MY LIBRARY

SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top