Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Variability of oestrous cycles in captive southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) as measured by urinary progesterone metabolites (#614)

Alyce M Swinbourne 1 , Stephen D Johnston 1 , Tina M Janssen 2 , Tamara Keeley 1
  1. School of Agriculture and Food Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton Campus, Gatton, Queensland, Australia
  2. Australian Animals Care and Education, Mount Larcom, Queensland, Australia

The southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) does not breed well in captivity. To better understand the reproductive physiology of this species, eight captive females were conditioned for daily non-invasive urine sample collection between July and December 2013 and 2014. Frozen-thawed urine samples were analysed for progesterone metabolites (P4M) using an enzyme-immunoassay. Urine concentration was standardised for creatinine (Cr), and hormone concentration expressed as ng mg-1 Cr. Commencement of the luteal phase (LP) was defined as the first day of a sustained increase in urinary P4M above the baseline concentration determined using an iterative process. Baseline urinary P4M ranged from 1.09-4.04 ng mg-1 Cr. Peak urinary P4M ranged from 6.99-16.32 ng mg-1 Cr, and varied between cycles within females; some females exhibited higher peak urinary P4M at the beginning of the breeding season, while in others, this occurred at the end of the breeding season. Mean oestrous cycle length, defined as the end of one LP to the end of the next, was 36.1 ± 4.52 days; however, individual cycle length ranged from 23-54 days. The mean LP was 22.5 ± 4.06 days but range from 12-33 days. Females exhibited two to four cycles during each study period. These results suggest that SHNW may exhibit a variable inter-oestrous period between cycles, or abnormal or infertile cycles, which makes captive reproductive management of this species particularly challenging. Nevertheless, monitoring urinary P4M still appears to be a useful index of SHNW cyclic activity and reproductive status.