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Environmental control of seasonal reproduction in the wild and captive Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) with respect to variations in gonadal mass, histology, and sex steroids

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The present study was undertaken on both sexes of the subtropical Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus (L., 1758)) to investigate seasonal cycles of gonadal mass, histology, and hormones in relation to various environmental factors at Shillong, India. Attempts were also made to examine whether seasonal responses differ under wild and captivity and also between the sexes. Finally, reproductive seasonality of the sparrow under subtropical conditions was compared with the patterns found elsewhere in its distribution. Both sexes of the Tree Sparrow possess annual cycles of gonadal mass, histology, and steroids that follow the annual solar cycle. Increasing day length during spring stimulates gonadal growth with a corresponding increase in gonadal steroids followed by spontaneous gonadal regression leading to steroidal decline and photorefractoriness. Histomorphometric analyses of gonads revealed seasonal variations in the thickness of germinative epithelium and testicular wall, diameters of seminiferous tubules, and area of intertubular space in the males, and in the thickness of follicle wall and ratio of various follicles in the females. Although males responded in a similar fashion under wild and captivity, the responses of females deferred significantly. Thus, the Tree Sparrow exhibited sexual responses almost similar to their conspecifics at other latitudes.

Keywords: Eurasian Tree Sparrow; Passer montanus; gonadal steroids; moineau friquet; photoperiod; photopériode; stéroïdes sexuels

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-03-12

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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