Prolonged receptivity to the male and the fate of spermatozoa in the female black mastiff bat, Molossus ater

in Reproduction

Summary. Observations were made on the reproductive biology of black mastiff bats maintained in a laboratory colony. Many of the females were inseminated within 24 h after the introduction of the males, and most exhibited a period of 10–50 days during which spermatozoa were present in their vaginal smears almost every day. The frequency of sperm-positive smears began to fall off around the time of implantation, but some smears taken much later in pregnancy were positive. The extent to which spermatozoa in the smears came from reservoirs in the female tract could not be thoroughly investigated, but evidence was obtained that the females have more than a limited period of oestrus. Female courtship behaviour and new copulations were sometimes observed many days after the start of the breeding activity. Also, histological studies of the reproductive tracts of females which had recently mated revealed that many were not in a periovulatory condition. Intact spermatozoa were usually found in the uterine horns and distal oviducts of preovulatory bats and those carrying tubal ova. Spermatozoa were absent from the oviducts of animals bearing early uterine embryos, and were much less abundant in the uterine horns after the start of implantation. Many of the excess spermatozoa appeared to have been expelled into the upper cervix where phagocytic leucocytes were commonly observed in the lumen. Some sperm components were also taken up by epithelial cells in the oviducts and uterine horns.

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    Society for Reproduction and Fertility

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