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Anim Reprod Sci. 2011 Apr;124(3-4):148-54. doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2010.08.023. Epub 2010 Sep 3.

Reproductive physiology in female Old World Camelids.

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Camel Reproduction Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


This review summarizes the basic reproductive physiology of dromedary and Bactrian camels. Camels are seasonal breeders with a relatively short breeding season during the cooler months. The onset of the breeding season can be influenced by local environmental factors such as temperature and pasture availability although decreased libido of the male as the environmental temperature increases is also a factor. Oestrous behaviour is highly variable in duration and intensity and is therefore unreliable for the detection of oestrus and difficult to relate to follicular activity in the ovaries. Camels are induced ovulators and thus normally only ovulate in response to mating. In the absence of mating, ovarian follicles tend to regress after a period of growth and maturity, whereas if male and females are kept together the female gets mated when the dominant follicle measures between 1.3 and 1.7 cm in diameter and the corpus luteum that develops has a lifespan of only 10-12 days. Peripheral concentrations of oestradiol increase with increasing follicle diameter until the follicle reaches 1.7 cm in diameter at which time they start to decrease even if the follicle continues to grow. The concentrations of progesterone remains low in non-mated animals but in mated camels it increases 3-4 days after ovulation (day of ovulation=Day 0) to reach maximum concentrations on Days 8-9 before decreasing rapidly on Days 10-11 in the non-pregnant animal. Ovulation can also be reliably induced using either Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) or human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) but only when the follicle measures between 1.0 and 1.9 cm in diameter. Ovulation does not typically occur from follicles that grow beyond 2.0 cm in diameter but these follicles typically develop echogenic strands of fibrin as the follicle degenerates. The gestation period of camels is 13 months but the time of resumption of follicular activity following parturition is highly variable and influenced by nutritional status and lactation. Females that lose their offspring or have offspring which are weaned have a mature follicle develop within 10-12 days, whilst in well-fed lactating females mature follicles do not develop until 30-60 days postpartum.

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