Most of the reproductive modes of frogs include an exotrophic tadpole, but a number of taxa have some form of endotrophic development that lacks a feeding tadpole stage. The dicroglossid frog genus Limnonectes ranges from China south into Indonesia. The breeding biologies of the approximately 60 described species display an unusual diversity that range from exotrophic tadpoles to endotrophic development in terrestrial nests. There have been mentions of oviductal production of typical, exotrophic tadpoles in an undescribed species of Limnonectes from Sulawesi, Indonesia. Here we examine newly collected specimens of this species, now described as L. larvaepartus and present the first substantial report on this unique breeding mode. Typical exotrophic tadpoles that are retained to an advanced developmental stage in the oviducts of a female frog are birthed into slow-flowing streams or small, non-flowing pools adjacent to the streams.
The cottontop tamarin, Saguinus oedipus oedipus, is a cooperatively breeding monkey in which mature male and female offspring serve as helpers to assist in rearing younger siblings. Generally, only one female per social group reproduces; breeding restriction is mediated in postpubertal female offspring through low and acyclic levels of reproductive hormones. We investigated (1) reproductive activity of postpubertal male offspring, and (2) whether aggression towards male offspring and a cortisol-mediated stress response might restrict breeding of male offspring in the natal group. We examined sexual behaviour, olfactory communication and urinary hormone levels (testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, luteinizing hormone, cortisol) of the subject males while we manipulated their social environment from housing in natal groups to pairing with a novel female, and after the production of their own offspring. Mounting and erection rates of the male subjects were as high in the natal group as when paired with a novel female. However, most mounts in the natal group were directed towards other males, and complete copulation sequences did not occur with natal-group females. Social environment had no significant effect on olfactory investigation of breeding females. Although hormone levels increased significantly after the subjects were removed from the natal group, the elevation was transient; the hormone levels of subjects in their natal groups did not differ from the levels shown by the same males when successfully producing their own offspring. Male offspring received more contact aggression in the natal group than when paired with the novel female. However, most of the aggression was received from siblings rather than the breeding pair, and levels of cortisol did not correspond with levels of aggression. Thus, at both a behavioural and endocrine level, mature male offspring in captive natal groups were potentially fertile, but sexual activity with natal-group females appeared to be behaviourally restricted and directed instead towards group males. In wild cottontop tamarin groups, this reproductive potential may allow male helpers flexibility to respond to breeding opportunities. Copyright 2001 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
In some social insects, workers can produce females asexually through thelytokous parthenogenesis. This allows them to produce replacement queens (i.e. requeening) if the queen has died, but also to compete with the queen to produce females (i.e. reproductive cheating). For the first time, we experimentally tested the role of worker thelytoky under quasinatural conditions in the ant , where the queen uses both sexual and thelytokous reproduction. We reared pairs of orphaned and queenright colonies in enclosures for almost 3 months, during which they competed for resources. Orphaned colonies lost more workers than queenright colonies over the course of the experiment, presumably because of the costs of reproductive conflicts between workers. Nevertheless, they produced new queens through worker thelytoky and new colonies through colony fission. This is the first unambiguous demonstration that worker thelytoky allows requeening under natural conditions in this species. We further showed that worker thelytoky results in reproductive cheating in the form of a few workers reproducing in the presence of the queen (in queenright colonies) and a few worker lineages producing more new queens than other lineages (in orphaned colonies). In addition, it also results in rare instances of social parasitism, that is, workers entering and reproducing in foreign colonies. These benefits to workers seem too occasional and too low to drive the evolution of thelytoky in this species. We argue that thelytoky probably evolved in the queen caste, where it allows the production of young queens and confers frequent and large benefits by increasing gene transmission, but is also expressed in workers because of genetic correlations between the two castes.
This meta-analysis investigated whether state anxiety and depression scores during assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment and changes in state anxiety and depression scores between baseline and during ART treatment are associated with treatment outcome. PubMed, PsycInfo, Embase, ScienceDirect, Web of Science and Scopus were searched and meta-analytic data analysed using random effects models to estimate standardized mean differences. Eleven studies (2202 patients) were included. Women who achieved pregnancy had significantly lower depression scores during treatment than women who did not become pregnant (–0.302; 95% CI: –0.551 to –0.054, = –2.387, = 0.017; = 77.142%, = 0.001). State anxiety scores were also lower in women who became pregnant (–0.335; 95% CI: –0.582 to –0.087, = –2.649, = 0.008; = 81.339%, = 0.001). However, changes in state anxiety ( = –0.056; 95% CI: –0.195 to 0.082, = –0.794; = 0.00%) and depression scores ( = –0.106; 95% CI: –0.296 to 0.085, = –1.088; = 0.00%) from baseline to treatment were not associated with ART outcome. Clinics should aim to promote better psychosocial care to help patients manage the psychological and physical demands of ART treatment, giving realistic expectations.
Primates appear unusual among mammals in the expression of female colorful ornaments in the absence of sex role reversal. Most studies of female ornamentation in primates have focused on the sexual signaling function of female exaggerated ano-genital swellings in female-female competition and male attraction, but other female colorful ornaments, such as red skin coloration, may also contain information about reproductive status and individual characteristics. We analyzed variation in facial and hindquarter coloration (redness and luminance) according to the timing of the fertile phase (intra-cycle variation), the cycle number, whether the cycle was conceptive or non-conceptive (inter-cycle variation), and in relation to individual characteristics (social rank, parity, and body mass) in 12 captive female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). While facial and hindquarter coloration did not accurately indicate the timing of the fertile phase, variation in hindquarter luminance signaled perceptible differences between pre- and post-ovulation stages. Hindquarters became less red, and faces were lighter as the number of consecutive cycles increased. Hindquarters were redder during non-conceptive cycles compared with conceptive ones. Individual variation in skin redness and luminance appeared perceptible under good light conditions. Higher-ranking females had darker hindquarters. We also found that variation in female skin coloration may contain information about differences in body mass but not in parity. Female skin coloration in Japanese macaques may thus be more indicative of inter-cycle variation and various specific female characteristics than the timing of the fertile phase. Our study provides insight into the potential information content of this signal and demonstrates the characteristics that males might be selecting for should males prefer redder females.Primates are the most colorful group of mammals. Females of some primate species display red skin color that is suggested to play a role in mate attraction by reflecting reproductive status or individual characteristics. In Japanese macaques, a species lacking accurate behavioral and auditory indices of the probability of ovulation, female red skin coloration (face and hindquarters) may influence mating activity. Our study shows that this colorful trait does not contain information about the timing of the fertile phase and parity but may indicate inter-cycle differences and some female characteristics. Our findings add to a growing body of research on the possible roles and functions of female colorful ornaments in animal sexual communication.
Objective To investigate the association between male factor infertility and openness to discussing assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment with levels of depression among men undergoing infertility treatment. Design Cross-sectional. Setting Not applicable. Patient(s) Three hundred forty participants (170 men and their partners) undergoing ART treatments. Intervention(s) Administration of a set of questionnaires. Main Outcome Measure(s) Depressive symptoms were detected by means of the Zung Depression Self-Rating Scale. Participants’ willingness to share their infertility treatment experience with other people was assessed by means of self-report questionnaires. Result(s) In this study, 51.8% of males chose not to discuss their ART treatments with people other than their partner. In addition, the decision to discuss or not discuss the ART treatments with others was significantly associated with men's depressive symptoms. Male factor infertility was significantly associated with depression when considered together with the decision not to discuss ART treatments with others. A general disposition characterized by a lack of openness with others seemed to be a significant predictor of depression. Conclusion(s) There is a need for routine fertility care to pay greater attention to men's emotional needs. Before commencing reproductive treatment, male patients may benefit from undergoing routine screening for variables (i.e., male factor infertility and openness to others about ART) that may affect their risk of depression.
BACKGROUND It is known that infertility affects emotional well-being, satisfaction with life and self-esteem and that failed assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment is associated with diminished life satisfaction, reduced self-confidence and substantial psychological distress. Investigations of whether these persist when treatment results in a pregnancy and live birth have been undertaken. METHODS A systematic search for English-language research articles on psychological and social aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and the first post-partum year after ART conception. RESULTS Of 466 retrieved papers, 46 met inclusion criteria. These reported data from 28 studies. There is consistent evidence that marital satisfaction, emotional well-being and self-regard in pregnancy, attachment to the fetus and parent-infant relationship in ART groups are similar to comparison groups. Anxiety about the survival of the fetus and early parenting difficulties appear to be higher and post-natal self-confidence lower. Evidence about adjustment to pregnancy and parenthood and the experience of childbirth is inconclusive and reports of parental perceptions of infant temperament and behaviour are contradictory. Between-study methodological differences may explain the lack of consistency in findings of the influence of infertility and ART on some aspects of the transition to parenthood. CONCLUSIONS Overall, this body of evidence is best described as emergent. It is possible that in pregnancy after ART, parenthood might be idealized and this might then hinder adjustment and the development of a confident parental identity.
BACKGROUND To develop the first international instrument to measure fertility quality of life (FertiQoL) in men and women experiencing fertility problems, to evaluate the preliminary psychometric properties of this new tool and to translate FertiQoL into multiple languages. METHOD We conducted a survey, both online and in fertility clinics in USA, Australia/New Zealand, Canada and UK. A total of 1414 people with fertility problems participated. The main outcome measure was the FertiQoL tool. RESULTS FertiQoL consists of 36 items that assess core (24 items) and treatment-related quality of life (QoL) (10 items) and overall life and physical health (2 items). Cronbach reliability statistics for the Core and Treatment FertiQoL (and subscales) were satisfactory and in the range of 0.72 and 0.92. Sensitivity analyses showed that FertiQoL detected expected relations between QoL and gender, parity and support-seeking. FertiQoL was translated into 20 languages by the same translation team with each translation verified by local bilingual fertility experts. CONCLUSIONS FertiQoL is a reliable measure of the impact of fertility problems and its treatment on QoL. Future research should establish its use in cross-cultural research and clinical work.