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Vulva colour and ano-genital distance as predictors of breeding status in the European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus A hazinyul szexualis viselkedese intrauterin hatasok

, : Vulva colour and ano-genital distance as predictors of breeding status in the European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus A hazinyul szexualis viselkedese intrauterin hatasok. Allattani Kozlemenyek, 891: 55-66

Studies on rodents indicate that the anatomical, physiological and behavioural development is de-pendent on the level of androgens during prenatal life. Androgene exposure is also reflected by the ano-genital distance (AGD) in adulthood therefore it is a good predictor of the other characteristics. In our experiments, the receptivity, fertility and fecundity of caged domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) were investigated by measuring their chin marking (CM) behaviour, vulva colour (VC) and ano-genital distance and relating them to the latency of mating and the size and weight of their litters. In the first study, 15 nulliparous chinchilla rabbit does were tested for two weeks on every second day. During these tests, spontaneous chin marking activity was measured for 20 minutes in an unfamiliar 1 by 1 m arena. Vulva colour (VC ) was also estimated and the anogenital distance was measured for each individual. Following the last test, all does were mated and the latency of the successful mating was also registered. The AGD and the VC showed a significant positive correlation with the chin marking activity. Females having darker VC had shorter mating latency. In the second investigation we wanted to know if fecundity of rabbit does can be predicted by measuring the AGD, known to be correlated with the breeding performance in other species. We found that females with small AGD had larger and heavier litters than those with larger AGD. Additionally the small litters of females with large AGD showed male biased sex ratio. We concluded that while VC is a good indicator of receptivity, AGD predicts the females' fecundity.

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