Biology Faculty Articles

Title

Similarity in Ejaculate-Endocrine Characteristics in Captive Versus Free-Ranging Cheetahs of Two Subspecies

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-1987

Publication Title

Biology of Reproduction

ISSN

0006-3363

Volume

36

Issue/No.

2

First Page

351

Last Page

360

Abstract

Ejaculate-endocrine characteristics were measured in 23 captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) in North American zoos and in 8 free-ranging cheetahs (A.j. raineyi) in eastern Africa (Tanzania). A standardized electroejaculation protocol was used, and numbers of motile spermatozoa were similar (p > 0.05) between groups. Of the spermatozoa collected by electroejaculation, 70.6 +/- 3.3% and 75.9 +/- 4.4% were morphologically abnormal in the captive "North American" and in the free-ranging, eastern African populations, respectively. Adrenal activity, as measured by an acute, temporal rise and fall in serum cortisol levels during and after electroejaculation, was no different (p > 0.05) between groups. Although serum luteinizing hormone (LH) levels were less (p < 0.05) in the free-ranging than in the captive animals, serum testosterone concentrations were similar. The data indicate that the comparatively poor reproductive performance of cheetahs maintained in zoological parks is not attributable to a captivity-induced response afflicting the male. Furthermore, there is no evidence that ejaculate/endocrine characteristics differ between the two subspecies. Because adrenal/gonadal activity and the number of pleiomorphic spermatozoa are similar between the test groups, the results suggest that spermatozoal diversity originates as a result of the extreme genetic monomorphism observed universally in the species.

Comments

©1987 The Society for the Study of Reproduction

ORCID ID

0000-0001-7353-8301

ResearcherID

N-1726-2015

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