The prolonged storage of spermatozoa by bats was first reported by Pagenstecher in 1859, and subsequently attracted the attention of several early comparative anatomists and histologists whose work has been thoroughly reviewed by Hartman (1933). Hartman was initially sceptical about the fertilizing capacity of the stored spermatozoa (Hartman & Cuyler, 1927) and it was left to Wimsatt (1942, 1944) to undertake the first critical experiments of isolating inseminated females from males and observing the developing embryo in the reproductive tract after arousal from hibernation in spring. Further work, reviewed by Wimsatt (1969), has shown that sperm storage is one facet of the complex reproductive adaptations of bats living in temperate latitudes where a period of hibernation occurs during prolonged oestrus.
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