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Keywords:

  • Aethomys ineptus;
  • A. namaquensis;
  • reproduction;
  • photoresponsiveness;
  • southern Africa

Abstract

Male Tete veld rats Aethomys ineptus and Namaqua rock mice A. namaquensis were independently subjected to a long photoperiod of 16L:8D and a short photoperiod of 8L:16D for 3 months in order to assess the effect of photoperiod on testicular function. Testicular parameters examined included testicular mass relative to body mass, testicular volume, seminiferous tubule diameters and changes in circulating plasma testosterone concentration. On a long day (LD) length, both species exhibited significantly higher testicular mass relative to body mass and testicular volume, and larger seminiferous tubule diameters. Circulating plasma testosterone concentrations in A. ineptus were not significantly different between the two photoperiodic treatments, but A. namaquensis showed significantly higher testosterone concentration in males on a LD length than on a short day (SD) length. This suggests that both A. ineptus and A. namaquensis are photoperiodically responsive to LDs.