The role of the male cloacal gland in reproductive success in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica)
Division of Physiology and Reproduction, Central Avian Research Institute, Izatnagar 243 122, India.Reproduction Fertility and Development (Impact Factor: 2.4). 01/2012; 24(2):405-9. DOI: 10.1071/RD11057
The adult male Japanese quail has a well developed cloacal gland that produces meringue-like white foam. The physiological significance of the cloacal gland and its foam is still unclear. Therefore, we conducted two experiments to establish the functional role of the cloacal gland and its foam in natural mating and oviducal sperm transport. In the first experiment, artificial insemination of equal numbers of spermatozoa diluted in foam extract and normal saline once in a week were used to determine the role of foam in sperm transport in the female oviduct. After artificial insemination, eggs were collected to measure fertility, the duration of the fertile period, sperm holes and attached spermatozoa in the perivitelline membrane. Higher (P<0.05) fertility and greater duration of the fertile period were observed when semen was inseminated along with foam extract compared with normal saline. Further, the sperm holes and trapped spermatozoa in the perivitelline membrane were also higher (P<0.05) in the presence of foam extract. In the second experiment, two males with bigger and smaller cloacal gland areas were allowed to mate with a female. The mating attempts of males with larger cloacal gland were more successful (P<0.05) than males with smaller cloacal glands. Our results indicated that cloacal foam improves sperm transport in the female oviduct and that males with larger cloacal gland areas are preferred during mating.
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ABSTRACT: Sperm competition is a powerful and widespread evolutionary force that drives the divergence of behavioural, physiological and morphological traits. Elucidating the mechanisms governing differential fertilization success is a fundamental question of sperm competition. Both sperm and nonsperm ejaculate components can influence sperm competition outcomes. Here, we investigate the role of a nonsemen copulatory fluid in sperm competition. Male Japanese quail possess a gland that makes meringue-like foam. Males produce and store foam independent of sperm and seminal fluid, yet transfer foam to females during copulation. We tested whether foam influenced the outcome of sperm competition by varying foam state and mating order in competitive matings. We found that the presence of foam from one male decreased the relative fertilization success of a rival, and that foam from a given male increased the probability he obtained any fertilizations. Mating order also affected competitive success. Males mated first fertilized proportionally more eggs in a clutch and had more matings with any fertilizations than subsequent males. We conclude that the function of foam in sperm competition is mediated through the positive interaction of foam with a male's sperm, and we speculate whether the benefit is achieved through improving sperm storage, fertilizing efficiency or retention. Our results suggest males can evolve complex strategies to gain fertilizations at the expense of rivals as foam, a copulatory fluid not required for fertilization, nevertheless, has important effects on reproductive performance under competition.Journal of Evolutionary Biology 07/2013; 26(9). DOI:10.1111/jeb.12189 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Attempts have been made to investigate the reproductive toxicity of norfloxacin drug in Japanese quail. Male quail were administered with norfloxacin @ 20 mg/kg body weight for 14 days. Then reproductive functions and androgen receptor (AR) gene expression was examined in treated and control birds. The results of the present study indicated that fertility, cloacal gland area, sperm concentration and serum testosterone were reduced significantly (p < 0.05) on day14 in the norfloxacin treated birds. The same antibiotic resulted in up regulation (p < 0.05) of AR mRNA in the testes on 14th day of treatment. The AR mRNA expression was observed with a down regulation trend in cloacal gland of norfloxacin treated birds. Histological observations revealed that norfloxacin induces cellular atrophy in testes and change in glandular tissue in cloacal gland. The results of the present study demonstrated that norfloxacin induces testicular toxicity in Japanese quail. Environ Toxicol Chem 2013;9999:XX-XX. © 2013 SETAC.Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 09/2013; 32(9). DOI:10.1002/etc.2291 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: What the report is about This report outlines progress in the development of artificial insemination technology for ratites and game birds such as, pheasants, pekin ducks, and Japanese quails. A number of major constraints to efficient production of ducks, pheasants, and quail are identified, and potential remedies or further appropriate investigative action is suggested. Who is the report targeted at? The research outcomes presented in this report are primarily of relevance to managers and researchers working in and around the production of poultry, game birds, emus, and ostriches. This report may be useful for both small and large-scale producers, and for those involved in artificial breeding and species conservation. Where are the relevant industries located in Australia? Major game bird industry proponents are located in NSW (Japanese quail and duck) and Victoria (duck and pheasant), however on a smaller scale, game birds are being farmed in most states. After turkey and duck, Japanese quail are the next largest game bird industry, and comprise well over 50% of Australian game bird production. In recent years, there has been a considerable decline in the activity of emu and ostrich industries. Background Performance of the Australian game bird and ratite industries has been variable. Poor management practises and/or lack of efficiently productive birds, in part due to lack of appropriate selection, has resulted in a failure to achieve high productivity. The failure to achieve expected outputs in the ratite industry highlights the need for artificial insemination (AI) technology, to drive ratite productivity forward. Aims/objectives The aims of this project were to: 1. Develop a genetic improvement program for commercial squab production 2. Improve commercial pheasant production through genetic selection and improved management 3. Improve reproductive efficiency in commercial duck production 4. Improve fertility and meat traits in commercial goose production 5. Develop viable artificial insemination (AI) protocols for the emu and ostrich 6. Develop an R&D plan for turkey, quail, silkie chickens, partridge, and guinea fowl production. However, in the early stage of the project, the work on three objectives (1, 4 and 6), had to be discontinued, due to the inability of pigeon and goose producers to fully participate. The process of measuring traits that could subsequently be used in selection became too onerous for these participants when the market could not guarantee long-term demand. The lack of interest from the turkey industry, and perceived lack of demand on behalf of the producers for guinea fowl and partridge farming, made these industry segments inaccessible. Consequently, more time and effort was allocated to duck, pheasant and ratite research, and to researching problems relating to fertility and production efficiency of Japanese quail. Methods used Various factors affecting pheasants, quails, and duck productivity were investigated. Protocols were developed for storing emu and ostrich semen, and the duration of the female ostrich fertile period after the artificial insemination were studied. Techniques for fertility evaluation in duck eggs, semen collection, evaluation of semen quality, and measurements of corticosterone concentrations in egg albumen and seminal plasma were developed. Manipulation of day length in pheasant breeding was investigated. Research involving pheasant, duck, Japanese quail and emu, was performed on farms in Australia, or at the research facility of the University of Western Australia, where emus, ducks, and Japanese quail were housed. Ostrich research was performed at a research facility in South Africa. Results/key findings Natural biological function in game birds presents the industry with phenomenal opportunities for productivity. All game bird industries, regardless of level of sophistication, can make significant improvements to their output. The key findings arising from this project were: 1. Pheasant producers can achieve an extended or even bi-annual breeding season by manipulating day length. Incorporation of genetic selection in pheasant breeding operations would facilitate uniformity of egg production, not to mention the potential of genetic gains seen in other poultry industries. 2. Fertility of Japanese quail does not vary with age when studied under laboratory conditions, however on-farm fertility peaks between 16-26 weeks of age, and is low beyond 26 weeks. Gender specific growth rate favours females that grow larger and mature later than males; this may have welfare implications and a negative impact on several production parameters, particularly fertility. 3. Ducks husbandry practices need to be modified, and optimal housing conditions defined and maintained, as birds appear to be favourably responsive to quality management and ambient temperature. Productive and reproductive efficiency of those birds are likely to improve as a result of those modifications. 4. Liquid storage and cryopreservation protocols have been improved for emus, and development of semen storage and artificial insemination protocols for ostriches has progressed. Fertile eggs can be produced by artificial insemination in the ostrich, and insemination techniques using female voluntary crouch is feasible. 5. Overall, game bird and ratite industries can thrive in Australia provided stakeholders attend to better performance of birds through selective breeding, good husbandry and welfare, and that they ensure their product remains in demand Implications for relevant stakeholders There are clear indications that all game bird productions, whether intensive or not, have great production potential, but there are issues specific to each farmed species that need addressing. Management practices, minimum husbandry standards, and genetic selection to maintain good performance should be revised and/or implemented. As a result of this project stakeholders should consider the following: • Pheasant producers – consider selection for uniformity of bird size and egg size for better efficiency of feed utilisation, better egg production, egg incubation and hatchability and improved growth. Adapting artificial lighting could improve farm output • Japanese quail producers – consider optimising sex ratio in the breeding colony, improve fertility of young and aging flock, breed selectively with a few traits in mind (eg. behavioural, fertility, male and female mature body size) • Ducks producers – consider defining optimal housing environment based on physiological and behavioural indicators of ducks, consider genetic variation and opportunity for selection for tolerance to hot weather • Emus /ostriches – consider adopting AI technology for breeding and genetic improvement, use AI to improve local genetics by importing semen from quality proven breeders and to bank superior genotypes • Irrespective of the species the producers should consider addressing performance of birds from husbandry, environment, welfare and genetic selection perspective Recommendations Preliminary findings from this research suggest that further research investigating physiological tolerance of ducks to hot weather would be beneficial, and it is reasonable to assume that other game bird species will benefit equally from similar studies. Severe hot weather has significant productivity implications, affecting health, fertility, hatchability, egg quality, and welfare. Poor tolerance to hot weather is likely to be a limiting factor in game bird productivity. An understanding of the implications of different sex ratios in intensive quail breeding flocks is critical. Research on the optimum sex ratios would ensure that the number of males was appropriate to a facility, and in turn, reduce male competitiveness and aggression. Minimising undesirable male behaviour has a strong positive impact on overall flock welfare, and consequently, reproductive performance. Quail fertility needs to be improved, both at young and old age, and research directed at this is needed to drive quail breeding outcomes towards their very significant potential. Artificial insemination technology has applications beyond ratite breeding, and provides the opportunity to conserve genetic resources. Bird industries generally should consider this technology and invest into research on preservation of diversity of breeds and/or superior genotypes. Tissue banking provides a level of insurance against outbreaks of infectious diseases or against detrimental effects of inbreeding. This is particularly important where genetic lines established domestically may have specific local value that is worth preserving for example disease resistance and adaptation to environment. The game bird industry at large would benefit from strategic partnerships with research institutions. Similarly, international linkages with industries are beneficial. Models of cooperation between government agencies, universities, and industry have resulted in the development of genetic lines that have local and global value.RIRDC Publication No. 14/044 (https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/14-044) 08/2014; Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation., ISBN: 978-1-74254-660-5