Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 43, Number 3, May-June 2003
Page(s) 217 - 224
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 43 (2003) 217-224
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2003023

Seasonal ovulatory activity and plasma prolactin concentrations in the Spanish ibex(Capra pyrenaica hispanica) maintained in captivity

Julián Santiago-Morenoa, Amelia Gómez-Bruneta, Antonio González-Bulnesa, Benoit Malpauxb, Philippe Chemineaub, Antonio Pulido-Pastorc and Antonio López-Sebastiána

a  Dpto. Reproducción Animal, SGIT-INIA, avda. Puerta de Hierro km 5.9, 28040 Madrid, Spain
b  UMR INRA-CNRS-Université de Tours, Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, 37380 Nouzilly, France
c  Consejería de Medio Ambiente de la Junta de Andalucía, DP de Málaga, Calle Mauricio Moro,2, Edificio Eurocom, 29006 Málaga, Spain

(Received 11 November 2002; accepted 26 February 2003)

Seasonal changes in ovulatory activity, assessed by the measurement of plasma progesterone and plasma prolactin concentrations were monitored in 10 Spanish ibex females captured in the National Wildlife Reserve of Sierra Nevada (South Spain, 37° N). Five of the 10 female ibex showed ovulatory activity with a mean ( $\pm$ s.e.m.) duration of the oestrous cycle of 19.4 $\pm$ 1 days (range: 17-23 days). On average, the five cyclic females weighed 28 $\pm$ 0.9 kg. Progesterone cycles occurred only in animals older than 4 years of age. Ovulatory activity extended from December to January. The duration of the breeding season was 43.2 $\pm$ 7.7 days. Ibex females younger than 4 years of age had a body weight lower ( P < 0.01) than that of adults and none of them displayed ovulations. Plasma concentrations of prolactin levels were significantly affected by season ( P < 0.05), following a trend that was roughly parallel to daylength. The highest values occurred in the spring (119.7 $\pm$ 21.4 ng $\cdot$mL -1) and the summer (139.3 $\pm$ 19.8 ng $\cdot$mL -1), the lowest values in the autumn (26 $\pm$ 7.4ng $\cdot$mL -1) and in the winter (19.7 $\pm$ 3.2 ng $\cdot$mL -1). Our results showed a very restricted breeding season, despite the fact that the Spanish ibex originates from and lives in a temperate latitude, revealing a remarkably good adaptation to the harsh climatic and nutritional conditions of their mountainous habitat.

Key words: breeding season / ovulation / progesterone

Correspondence and reprints: Julián Santiago-Moreno

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2003