Serum samples were collected weekly for 3 yr from two female African elephants, for 18 mo from two other female African elephants, and for 2 yr from two female Asian elephants. Animals were not sedated at the time of blood collection. Ovarian cycles, characterized by changes in progesterone and immunoreactive luteinizing hormone (ILH) concentrations, averaged 15.9 +/- 0.6 wk (N = 25) for African females and 14.7 +/- 0.5 wk for Asian females (N = 10). The length of the active luteal phase averaged 10.0 +/- 0.3 wk for African elephants (range 8-14 wk) and 10.6 +/- 0.6 wk for Asian females (range 9-13 wk). Interluteal phases were 5.9 +/- 0.6 wk for African females and 4.2 +/- 0.5 wk for Asian females. One African female (Maliaca) had two extended interluteal phases, both occurring between the months of February and May. Excluding these two periods, there were no differences in the length of the ovarian cycle or the length of the luteal phase between species of elephant. Serum progesterone in both species ranged from less than 50 pg/ml to 933 pg/ml. Average progesterone concentrations during the luteal phase were significantly lower in African elephants compared with Asian elephants (328 +/- 13, N = 30 cycles vs. 456 +/- 23, N = 14 cycles; p less than 0.001). ILH ranged from nondetectable to 11.6 ng/ml. These data suggest that the length of the ovarian cycle in the African elephant is about 16 wk and confirm that the length of the ovarian cycle in the Asian elephant is about 15 wk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology