oa African Zoology - Lack of a response of the sub-tropical rodent (Saccostomus campestris) to a secondary plant compound, 6-methoxybenzoxazolinone - consequences for reproductive strategy

Volume 34, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



A potential strategy for southern African small mammals to maximise reproductive success is to cue breeding activity to rainfall and subsequent vegetative growth via a secondary plant compound such as 6-methoxybenzoxazolinone (6MBOA). This study investigated whether the sub-tropical rodent Saccostomus campestris utilised this compound to enhance reproductive activity. 6MBOA or control vehicle were injected into adult females and into peri-pubertal females under long day (LD) and short day (SO) photoperiods (adults n = 6 to 8: peripubertals n = 5 to 10/treatment). There was no significant effect of 6MBOA or photoperiod on uterine or ovarian masses nor on ovarian development in sacrificed animals. nor on age at vaginal opening of peri-pubertals. It was concluded that 6MBOA is not a major stimulant of reproduction in this species. Rather, we propose that seasonal breeding occurs in response to multiple environmental cues. This reproductive strategy and omnivory permit an opportunistic reproductive response to the unpredictable environment of the southern African region.

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