Progesterone in Luteal Bodies of Bobcats

Historically, corpora luteal counts have been used to index reproductive output; however, there has been skepticism as to their usefulness in bobcats because bobcats may retain their corpora lutea from one season to the next. We conducted this study to determine if bobcats retain corpora lutea and if they are functional. Luteal bodies were monitored throughout multiple breeding seasons. The functionality of luteal bodies of previous cycles (LBPCs) in bobcats was explored using radioimmunoassay, and compared to that of corpora lutea (CL). LBCPs continued to produce progesterone, although CL tissue had a greater progesterone concentration than LBPC tissue. This study offers evidence against using luteal body counts to determine reproductive output. Further, we suggest that retention of luteal bodies may be a unique reproductive strategy by bobcats to maintain pregnancy and, as such, may affect restoration efforts and should be considered in establishment of harvest quotas.

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