Reproduction in male swamp wallabies (Wallabia bicolor): puberty and the effects of season

Justyna Zofia Paplinska, Richard LC Moyle, Nigel Glen Wreford, Peter DM Temple-Smith, Marilyn Renfree

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This study describes pubertal changes in testes and epididymides and seasonal changes in the adult male reproductive organs and plasma androgen concentrations of the swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor). Pre-pubescent males had testes with solid seminiferous cords and spermatogenesis only to the stage of gonocytes. Their epididymides had empty lumina along their entire length. The testes of three males undergoing puberty had some lumen formation and mitotic activity. Their epididymides were similar in appearance to those of adult males but were entirely devoid of any cells within the lumen of the duct. Three other pubescent males showed full lumen formation in the testes and spermatogenesis up to the elongating spermatid stage. Their epididymides were similar in appearance to those of adult males but with no spermatozoa in the duct. However, cells of testicular origin were found in the lumen of the duct in all regions suggesting that testicular fluids and immature germ cells shed into the rete testes flow through the seminiferous tubules into the epididymis before the release of mature testicular spermatozoa. The weights of testes and epididymides of adult males showed no change throughout the year but prostate weight and plasma androgen concentrations varied significantly with season, with maximums in spring and summer and minimums in winter. The volume fraction of Leydig cells and seminiferous tubules was significantly lower in winter than in summer; but, despite this, maturing spermatozoa were found in the testes throughout the year. Females in the area conceived year-round, suggesting that seasonal changes in the male reproductive tract did not prevent at least some males from breeding throughout the year.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518 - 533
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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