Changes in the abundance of cells in the anterior pituitary gland and the possible roles of luteinizing hormone, prolactin and progesterone in the control of delayed implantation in the straw-coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum)
Eidolon helvum (Megachiroptera) is a large frugivorous bat found in equatorial and tropical Africa. The reproductive cycle is characterized by a three-month period of delayed implantation and the total length of pregnancy may be as much as 10 months. A histochemical study of the gonadotrophs and mammotrophs of the anterior pituitary, in conjunction with assays of LH-like, progesterone-like and prolactin-like immunoreactivity in the plasma suggest that during delayed implantation the gonadotrophs were inactive while the mammotrophs were active and plasma PRL-like immunoreactivity high. We interpret this as indicating that, in the straw-coloured fruit bat, implantation was inhibited by high levels of prolactin and, as such, the endocrine control of delayed implantation may be quite different from that described for other mammals.
Key words: Megachiroptera, reproduction, mammotroph, gonadotroph.