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Research article2014Peer reviewed

Testosterone production and spermatogenesis in free-ranging Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) throughout the year

Müller, Karin; Koster, Stephanie; Painer, Johanna; Söderberg, Arne; Gavier-Widen, Dolores; Brunner, Edgar; Dehnhard, Martin; Jewgenow, Katarina


Seasonal variation in reproduction is common in mammals as an adaptation to annual changes in the habitat. In lynx, male reproduction activity is of special interest because female lynxes are monoestric with an unusual narrow (about 1 month) breeding season. In Eurasian lynx, mating occurs between January and April depending on the latitude. To characterize the seasonal pattern of sperm and testosterone production in free-ranging Eurasian lynxes, long-term frozen-stored testis material obtained postmortem from 74 hunted or road-killed lynxes in Sweden was used to analyze annual changes in testis mass, testicular testosterone content, and spermatogenetic activity. Values of most gonadal parameters obtained in subadult lynxes were significantly different from the values observed in adult males. In adult lynxes, a moderate annual fluctuation of gonadal parameters was found which was most profound for testis weight and testicular testosterone concentration reaching highest values in March (median of 2.18 g and 2.67 mu g/g tissue respectively). Grouping the data of pre-/breeding (January-April) and postbreeding season (May-September) revealed significant changes in testis weight and testosterone concentration. The relative spermatogenetic activity remained high in postbreeding testes. However, net sperm production decreased according to reduction of testis mass and a tendency to lower cauda epididymal sperm numbers in the postbreeding period was observed. Our results demonstrate that it is possible to analyze the gonadal activity of frozen testis/epididymis tissue postmortem and that male Eurasian lynxes show-opposite to the females-only moderate seasonal changes in their reproductive capacity.


Lynx; Seasonality; Spermatogenesis; Testis; Testosterone

Published in

European Journal of Wildlife Research
2014, Volume: 60, number: 4, pages: 569-577
Publisher: SPRINGER

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