Female rats in a laboratory display seasonal variation in fecundity

in Reproduction

Summary. Female laboratory rats housed in controlled environments of two separate laboratories displayed seasonal variation in fecundity. Fecundity peaked between May and August and reached a trough between December and February, as measured by oestrous cycle length, variability and regularity, as well as number of animals mating and the percentage of litters reared to weaning. The percentage of mated animals giving birth remained constant throughout the year. Seasonal variations in the laboratory coincided with the seasonal cycle reported for wild rats in natural conditions. Several environmental variables, e.g. food, water, humidity and airborne factors, were evaluated as putative cues for seasonal variation.

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    Society for Reproduction and Fertility

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