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[Influence of temperature on the rate of spermatogenesis, duration of spermatogenic activity and development of secondary sex characteristics in the wall-lizard, Lacerta muralis L. (Reptilia, Lacertidae)].

[Article in French]


A series of experiments was carried out primarily between the 22nd of March and the 27th of June, on 60 Lacerta muralis maintained either under semi-natural conditions in large enclosures or in constant-temperature cabinets maintained at 17.5 degrees C, 20 degrees C, 22.5 degrees C and 27.5 degrees C with a natural photoperiod. Following an injection of tritiated thymidine, the animals were sacrificed at regular intervals and the rate of spermatogenesis was deduced from the progression of the radioactive front in the seminiferous epithelium. The following results were obtained: 1. The rate of spermatogenesis is temperature dependent and increases by a factor of approximately 1.2 per degree centigrade between 17.5 and 27.5 degrees C. The rate is seven times greater at 27.5 degrees C than at 17.5 degrees C. 2. Under semi-natural conditions the interval leptotene-spermatozooid lasts 70 days, slightly less than that found at a constant temperature of 22.5 degrees C. 3. Under semi-natural conditions the rate of spermatogenesis was similar to that in August-September, April-May and May-June which indicates that the lizards were able to maintain their body temperature at an equivalent level by behavioural temperature regulation during the greater part of their activity period. 4. Under semi-natural conditions, or at temperatures in excess of 22 degrees C, spermiogenesis lasts 1.8 times as long as meiosis. 5. At constant temperatures lower than 21 degrees C the development of the cellular lineage is aressted at the young spermatid stage. 6. Constant temperatures between 17.5 and 22.5 degrees C had no effect on the time of involution of the testis at the start of summer. 7. At low constant temperatures, secondary sexual characteristics regress before the usual time: after 4 weeks at 20 degrees C and after 8 weeks at 17.5 degrees C. An expected regression after 8 weeks produced after exposure to a temperature of 22.5 degrees C is probably due to factors other than temperature. 8. In the case of different individuals kept either under natural, semi-natural or experimental conditions, there was no close relationship observed between the time of involution of the seminiferous tubules and regression of secondary sexual characters. ters. 9. These results confirm the concept of endogenous control of sexual regression at the commencement of summer and argue in favour of 2 separate gonadotrophic hormones in reptiles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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