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Science, not romance, controls mating at Smithsonian's National Zoo
Date:2/8/2008

und that when two females are housed together, either one or both females will shut down ovulation, making it difficult to breed them with the male cheetahs. In order to create suitable breeding conditions, the Zoo has housed its female cheetahs separately since the opening of the Cheetah Conservation Station in 1992. National Zoo scientists have also monitored cheetah breeding based on age, weight and artificial insemination.

  • The kori bustard, a large African bird, requires flat, savanna-like terrain, secluded hiding spots and a proper male-to-female ratio to adequately perform during breeding season. Scientists at the National Zoo used a telemetric egg placed under the bird to learn more about how this species incubates its eggs. This technology records incubation temperature and the rate of turning, sending the data from the egg to a receiver that records data on each egg for 24 hours a day.

  • The Panamanian golden frog, now extinct in the wild, has a unique style of breeding. Male golden frogs are quite persistent when it comes to mating and will attach themselves to a specific female for 120 days before mating with her. Since females must lay their eggs in dark areas, scientists create wet, humid environments by covering the tanks with dark plastic, misting the inside for a prolonged period while the females lay their eggs. The National Zoo is one of six zoos in North America to have a specialized breeding program for this amphibian.

  • At the Invertebrates exhibit, biologists began studying how to breed Hercules beetles in captivity. These insects are most active and ready to breed after dark, but when brought into human care, these beetles often lose their interest in mating and spend most of their time eating. The only option for reproduction so far has been hand pairing, which requires a zookeeper to hold the female beetle with one hand and place the male on top of the females back in the proper direction to init
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  • Contact: Sarah Taylor
    Taylors@si.edu
    202-633-3081
    Smithsonian
    Source:Eurekalert  

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