Gonadal And Hormonal Characteristics Of Juvenile Female Mourning Doves In Virginia

Trapped or hunter-harvested juvenile female mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) in Virginia were examined for reproductive activity during the late summer and fall of 1975, 1976, and 1977. Body, ovary, and oviduct weights, diameter of the 3 largest follicles in the ovary, presence or absence of eggs in the reproductive tract, and presence or absence of crop gland activity were recorded for all trapped juveniles. Blood samples also were collected for estradiol and progestin analysis. All pertinent reproductive data, excluding body weights and blood samples, were collected from hunter-harvested juveniles as previously described. Gonadal and crop gland data indicated that a small percentage offemale doves attained puberty at approximately 93 days (07 primary feather replacement). Reproductive capabilities of juvenile females appeared to increase with age class. Changes in estradiol and progestin concentrations were not explicitly diagnostic of puberal changes due to large variability among doves. Approximately 9 percent of the 93 to 131-day old juvenile females sampled during the study were capable of reproduction.

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