Annual reproductive synchronization in ovary and pineal gland function of female short-nosed fruit bat, Cynopterus sphinx

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2006 Aug;144(4):395-400. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2006.02.041. Epub 2006 May 26.


We studied the annual correlation of ovarian activity and pineal gland in relation with seasonal variation and gestation of a tropical zone short-nosed fruit bat Cynopterus sphinx. Female bats showed bimodal polyestry (February/March and September/October) in their reproductive cycle. Plasma estradiol concentration ran parallel with ovarian activity and had an inverse relation with pineal mass and peripheral melatonin concentration. Due to the delayed embryonic development in the uterus (October-March) of female bats, interestingly, the uterine activity did not show a parallel relation with ovarian activity and estradiol level. Further, compared with normal non-pregnant females, melatonin level was high during gestation and delayed embryonic development phase. This suggests that the reproductive synchrony and annual variation in ovarian activity of this nocturnal flying mammal differ from other common tropical mammals. The delayed embryonic development in bats might be an adaptive strategy for the unfavorable conditions of the seasons and might be regulated by high peripheral estradiol and melatonin concentration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Animals
  • Chiroptera / physiology*
  • Embryonic Development / physiology*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Melatonin / analysis
  • Organ Size
  • Ovary / cytology
  • Ovary / physiology*
  • Pineal Gland / anatomy & histology
  • Pineal Gland / cytology
  • Pineal Gland / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction*
  • Seasons


  • Estradiol
  • Melatonin