Reproductive response of xeric and mesic populations of the spiny mouse Acomys to photoperiod acclimation

T. Wube, A. Haim, F. Fares

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The reproductive response of xeric and mesic populations of the genus Acomys to photoperiod acclimation was investigated. Populations of Acomys russatus and Acomys cahirinus were used as models for xeric and mesic populations, respectively. Mice (n=10 of each species) were acclimated to short (10L:14D) and long (14L:10D) photoperiods at the following ambient temperatures: 31±1 °C (A. russatus) and 28±1 °C ( A. cahirinus) for 52 days. Estrus cycles were monitored by microscopic observation of vaginal epithelial cells three times each week. Three animals from each sex and photoperiod group were sacrificed randomly at the end of acclimation. Wet mass of left testis, uterus and testicular dimensions (for calculation of testis volume) were recorded. The stage of spermatogenesis was determined from histology of seminiferous tubules. Based on the eco-climatic conditions of their natural habitats, we expected A. russatus to be non-responsive to photoperiod and A. cahirinus to be responsive only to long photoperiod. Interestingly, our results showed that only females of A. russatus were unaffected by photoperiod while their male counterparts were unable to maintain testicular activity under a short photoperiod. However, both sexes of A. cahirinus maintained gonadal activity under short and long photoperiod. Our results were compared with those of previous studies and possible ecological explanations were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-447
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported by an ISF grant from the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities to A.H. and F.F. We are grateful to the anonymous referees for their valuable comments and suggestions on the original manuscript. Dr. Orna Harel is acknowledged for her editorial comments.


  • Environmental signals
  • Estrus cycle
  • Reproduction
  • Seasonality
  • Spermatogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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