Anatomy of the reproductive tract of the female African elephant (Loxodonta africana) with reference to development of techniques for artificial breeding

J. M. E. Balke, W. J. Boever, M. R. Ellersieck, U. S. Seal, D. A. Smith
1988 Reproduction  
Complete reproductive tracts of 30 female African elephants (5\p=n-\53years), obtained during a population reduction procedure, were examined. The reproductive tracts were palpated in situ via the urogenital canal. A plastic speculum (1\m=.\3\ m=x\ 170 cm) was introduced into the canal and dye was injected to simulate the procedure for artificial insemination. The lengths of reproductive tracts (from the vulva to the ovary) ranged from 120 to 358 cm. The length increased with the size and age
more » ... the animal. There was a membranous constriction (hymen) with an orifice, <2cm in diameter, between the urogenital canal and the vagina, in 4 primigravid and in all 13 nulliparous elephants. The vaginal orifice of 13 multiparous elephants consisted of ragged folds of mucous membrane surrounding a single opening, 5\p=n-\19cm in diameter. The ages at first conception of 4 pregnant elephants with intact hymenal membranes were 10, 12, 13 and 14 years. The hymen was not penetrated as a result of intromission and therefore the site of ejaculation would have been in the urogenital canal of the 4 primigravid elephants.
doi:10.1530/jrf.0.0840485 pmid:3199367 fatcat:qnpd5fjpv5amjmvbvsizixgxqu