Evaluation of different temporal periods between hormone-induced ovulation attempts in the female Fowler's toad Anaxyrus fowleri


Many amphibian species reinitiate the processes of preparing for reproduction (e.g. oogenesis) soon after breeding indicating hormone-induced ovulation could potentially be achieved out-of-season, which would lead to higher annual fecundity compared to mono-seasonal breeding. Such strategies would be beneficial to captive breeding programs for threatened species that are short-lived, have aging populations or need large numbers of offspring to meet reintroduction goals for species recovery. Unfortunately, little is known regarding how female anurans respond to multiple ovulation events within a year, which could lead to higher annual fecundity compared to mono-seasonal breeding. Thus, we evaluated the effect of temporal period between exogenous hormone stimulation events on egg production using the Fowler's toad Anaxyrus fowleri as a model species. Female toads (n = 21) were administered hormone therapy twice in 1 year with toads randomly assigned to a treatment of either a 4-, 8-or 12-month recovery period between hormone stimulations. Ovulation was induced using two priming doses of human chorionic gonadotropin (100 IU; hCG) 72 h apart, followed by a resolving dose of hCG (500 IU) plus gonadotropin releasing hormone analogue (GnRHa; 15 µg) given 24 h after the second priming injection. Measured response variables include the number of females ovulating after treatment, total number of eggs produced and percent fertilization, neurula and tadpole development. No significant treatment effects were observed for any response variable (P > 0.05). Findings from this study suggest that hormone therapy can be administered in a bufonid species every 4 or 8 months without significantly affecting the number of ovulating females, egg production, fertilization, neurulation or tadpole development. By collecting gametes out-of-season or multiple times throughout the year, captive breeding programs could potentially increase tadpole production for reintroductions as well as extend the breeding window in captivity.

Publication Title

Conservation Physiology