Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 130-135

Reproductive biology of the coypu, Myocastor coypus (Rodentia: Myocastoridae) in western Japan

Iori, RunamiGunji, YousukeHishinuma, MitsuguNagano, MasashiTakada, TatsuyukiHigaki, Shogo

We describe the reproductive biology of the coypu, Myocastor coypus (Molina, 1782), in western Japan, as an attempt to contribute to an efficient population control program of the coypu population. A total of 212 specimens (113 males and 99 females) were collected in the Tottori prefecture from February 2010 to January 2012. From the age estimation based on body weight and molar eruption pattern, we determined that both males and females reach sexual maturity at 4-6 months of age. Of the 72 mature females examined, 60 (83.3%) were pregnant, with a mean litter size of 6.5 ± 2.4 (mean ± SE). The onset of sexual maturity in the western Japanese population was relatively earlier when compared with indigenous and other introduced populations. Furthermore, the population in Japan had relatively higher pregnancy rates and larger litter sizes, without obvious seasonal fluctuation. These observations may imply that the hunting pressure in Japan in the past 50 years has been strong enough to select individuals that mature earlier; however, nothing in the present habitat of the coypu population seems to be limiting reproduction. The relatively high reproductive potential of the present population in the mild climate of western Japan must be considered when determining appropriate management measures for this species.(AU)

Texto completo