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Yearly Variations in GCM Concentrations in Female Mountain Hares (Lepus timidus) and the Effect of Pregnancy

Authors
  • rehnus, maik
  • palme, rupert
Publication Date
Sep 16, 2021
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/ani11092710
OAI: oai:mdpi.com:/2076-2615/11/9/2710/
Source
MDPI
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

The measurement of glucocorticoid metabolites (GCMs) in faeces has become a widely used and effective tool for evaluating the amount of stress experienced by animals. However, the potential sampling bias resulting from an oversampling of individuals in different states of pregnancy has rarely been investigated. In this study, we validate a noninvasive method for measuring gestagen metabolites in female mountain hares (Lepus timidus) under controlled conditions. We also measured the concentration of gestagen metabolites of females in a free-ranging population during the early breeding and post-breeding periods from 2014 to 2019. We found significant yearly variations in gestagen metabolites, which were related to the condition of the females due to the snow cover duration before and at the start of the reproduction period. GCMs were significantly influenced by the gestagen metabolite levels. These results are important for improving the interpretation of GCM concentrations in free-ranging populations during the breeding and reproductive periods.

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