Background: Protocols for the hormonal induction of ovulation and oviposition are essential tools for managing threatened amphibians with assisted reproduction, but responses vary greatly between species and even broad taxon groups. Consequently, it is necessary to assess effectiveness of such protocols in representative species when new taxa become targets for induction. The threatened genus Mixophyes (family Myobatrachidae) has amongst the highest proportion of endangered species of all the Australian amphibians. This study developed and optimised the induction of oviposition in a non-threatened member of this taxon, the great barred frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus).Methods: Gravid female M. fasciolatus were induced to oviposit on one or more occasions by administration of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) with or without priming with pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG). Treatments involved variations in hormone doses and combinations (administered via injection into the dorsal lymph sacs), and timing of administration. Pituitary homogenates from an unrelated bufonid species (Rhinella marina) were also examined with hCG.Results: When injected alone, hCG (900 to 1400 IU) induced oviposition. However, priming with two time dependent doses of PMSG (50 IU, 25 IU) increased responses, with lower doses of hCG (200 IU). Priming increased response rates in females from around 30% (hCG alone) to more than 50% (p = 0.035), and up to 67%. Increasing the interval between the first PMSG dose and first hCG dose from 3 to 6 days also produced significant improvement (p<0.001). Heterologous pituitary extracts administered with hCG were no more effective than hCG alone (p = 0.628).Conclusions: This study found that M. fasciolatus is amongst the few amphibian species (including Xenopus (Silurana) and some bufonids) that respond well to the induction of ovulation utilising mammalian gonadotropins (hCG). The optimal protocol for M. fasciolatus involved two priming doses of PMSG (50 IU and 25 IU) administered at 6 and 4 days respectively, prior to two doses of hCG (100 IU), 24 hours apart. This study is also the first to demonstrate in an amphibian species that responds to mammalian gonadotropins that an increase in the ovulation rate occurs after priming with a gonadotropin (PMSG) with FSH activity.
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- assisted reproduction