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Natural and artificial methods for inducing the luteal phase in the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

S. D. Johnston1, M. R. McGowan1, P. O’Callaghan2, R. Cox3 and V. Nicolson2

1School of Veterinary Science and Animal Production, The University of Queensland, 4072, Australia;
2Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket, 4069, Australia; and
3Bioquest Ltd, North Ryde, 2113, Australia

An experiment was conducted in which female koalas were mated for different durations of intromission and ejaculation to confirm that the luteal phase of the oestrous cycle in koalas is induced by the physical act of mating. Results showed that induction of a luteal phase in the koala usually required a complete duration of penile thrusting behaviour from the male. It is proposed that induction of a luteal phase in koalas may involve a copuloceptive reflex, triggered by the thrusting of the male’s penis into the female’s urogenital sinus. Although interrupted mating in koalas may be used to induce a luteal phase in preparation for an artificial insemination programme, this study showed that there is a 12.5% probability that pregnancy will result from semen prematurely emitted by the teaser male. A dose of 250 iu hCG was administered intramuscularly to eight oestrous females to determine whether it was possible to induce a luteal phase artificially. In contrast to control females, which received sterile saline injections, all females injected with hCG showed a significant increase in progestogen concentration above that of basal values, indicating that a luteal phase had been induced successfully.

  • All
  • 2013
  • Biogeography
  • Biology
  • Chlamydia
  • Diet
  • Disease
  • Ecology
  • Ellis
  • Eucalyptus
  • Genetics
  • Habitat
  • Infection
  • Interventions
  • Koala
  • Lunney
  • Threats
  • Timms
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