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Reproductive biology of the greater bandicoot rat Bandicota indica (Rodentia: Muridae) in the rice fields of southern Thailand

Keywords: Greater bandicoot rat , Bandicota indica , Time of breeding , Testis size

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Abstract:

This study investigated some aspects of the reproductive biology of male and female greater bandicoot rats Bandicota indica in southern Thailand from September 2004 to September 2006. In females, body, uterine and preputial gland weights, occurrences of pregnancies and placental scars, and in males, testicular weights and histology, and sizes of accessory sex glands, were recorded. Pregnancies occurred predominantly, but not exclusively, in the wet season, with a higher incidence pregnancies in the second, than in the first, dry season. Uterine and preputial gland weights tended to be lower in the first, but not the second dry season, with placental scars occurring at all times of year. Males tended to have heavier testes in the wet season but some seminiferous tubules contained sperm even in the dry season. Seminal vesicles, but not prostates and preputial glands, tended to be heavier in animals in the wet season. We conclude that the greater bandicoot rat in southern Thailand shows maximal reproductive activity in the wet season with some reproductive activity, albeit variable from year to year, occurring in the dry season depending upon environmental conditions. This study has also shown that females, as well as males, have large preputial glands, and that males invariably have small testes regardless of the time of year. These observations suggest a similar timing of reproduction, but a different breeding biology and perhaps social organisation, from that of the sympatric ricefield rat, Rattus argentiventer [Current Zoology 55(1): 48–55, 2009].

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