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Impact of contraceptive hormones on the reproductive potential of male and female commensal black rats (Rattus rattus)

Impact of contraceptive hormones on the reproductive potential of male and female commensal black rats (Rattus rattus)

Selemani, Mwajabu, Makundi, Rhodes H., Massawe, Apia W., Mhampi, Ginethon, Mulungu, Loth S. and Belmain, Steven R. ORCID: 0000-0002-5590-7545 (2021) Impact of contraceptive hormones on the reproductive potential of male and female commensal black rats (Rattus rattus). Integrative Zoology. ISSN 1749-4869 (Print), 1749-4877 (Online) (In Press) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/1749-4877.12563)

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Abstract

The black rat is considered one of the world’s top pests. With increased restrictions on rodenticides, new alternatives to manage rats are urgently needed. Research on the use of contraceptive hormones, levonorgestrel (LE) and quinestrol (QU), have been evaluated against some rodent species, and this research is the first study to assess these on black rats. Hormones were incorporated into rodent bait at 10 ppm and 50 ppm concentrations singly and in combination (EP-1). Groups of 10 animals of each sex were fed the baits over 7 days. Lower bait consumption was observed with slight body mass reductions. On dissection, it was observed that the uterus was in a state of oedema and male reproductive organs weighed less with reduced sperm counts/motility. The two most promising baits, 50 ppm QU and EP-1, were used to assess impact on pregnancy and litter size. Pregnancy was reduced from 70% success when both males and females consumed untreated bait, down to 30% when males had consumed contraceptive bait but females had not, and down to 0% when females had consumed contraceptive bait, regardless of whether they had paired with a treated or untreated male. Litter size in the untreated pairs was 8 pups, but only 4 pups in those cases where the male only had consumed the contraceptive. Further studies should investigate how long the effect lasts and its reversibility. Field studies at the population level may also shed light on the practicality of using contraceptive baits for black rats in different habitats.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ecologically-based rodent management, fertility control, contraceptive bait, levonorgestrel, quinestrol
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Pest Behaviour Research Group
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 17:12
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/33020

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