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Reproductive traits in captive and free-ranging males of the critically endangered Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus)

AutorGañán, Natalia ; Garde, José Julián ; Martínez, Fernando ; Vargas, Astrid; López-Bao, José V. ; Palomares, Francisco ; Gomendio, Montserrat ; Roldán, Eduardo R. S.
Fecha de publicación2010
EditorSociety for Reproduction and Fertility
CitaciónReproduction 139(1): 275-285 (2010)
ResumenThe Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is the most endangered felid in the world. Adequate genetic management of in situ and ex situ populations, and linkage between both, require knowledge on male reproductive biology and factors influencing it. We examined the influence of age, free-ranging versus captive conditions and seasonality on phenotypic, endocrine and semen traits, and links between reproductive traits and male fertility. Males had relatively small testes, produced low sperm numbers, a low proportion of normal sperm, and a high proportion of motile sperm. Young (2-year-old) males had lower testosterone levels, fewer sperm, and a lower proportion of motile and normal sperm than R4-year-old males. No major differences were found in semen traits before and after the mating season or between free-ranging and captive males, although the latter had better sperm motility. Males with larger relative testes weight and more sperm copulated more frequently, whereas males that produced more sperm with higher motility produced more cubs per female. In conclusion, small relative testes size and low sperm quality could indicate either low levels of sperm competition or high levels of inbreeding. Young males are probably subfertile; there is a slight trend for males in the captive breeding programme to have better semen quality than wild males, and males with higher sperm production are sexually more active and more fertile. These findings have major implications for decisions regarding which males should breed, provide samples for the genetic resource bank, or participate in programmes involving the use of assisted reproductive techniques.
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Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1530/REP-09-0259
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