Variations in the photoperiodic cloacal response of Japanese quail: association with testes weight and feather color

Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1983 Apr;50(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/0016-6480(83)90236-8.


The size of the cloacal gland was found to be a reliable indicator of testicular activity of Japanese quail. Six experiments were performed to examine the effects of alternating long and short photoperiod on the size of the cloacal gland of male Japanese quail. Three types of photoperiodic cloacal responses were distinguished. Type I birds became refractory to short photoperiods after they had experienced 5 weeks or more of short days. They maintained large cloacal glands under subsequent condition of alternating long and short photoperiod. Type II birds were intermediate types I and III birds did not become refractory to short photoperiods after experiencing 5 weeks or more of short days. The cloacal glands responded to conditions of alternating long and short photoperiods with increases or decreases in size. Feather color on the throat was found to correspond to the type of cloacal response. Type I birds had brick-red throat feathers. Type II birds had white feathers intermingled with brick-red feathers. Type III had white throat feathers. The percentages of types I, II, and III observed in the experimental population was 67, 18, and 15%, respectively. Type III birds were used to study the effects of blinding on the cloacal response to short photoperiod. Five out of eight blinded type III birds did not lose the responsiveness to short photoperiod. These results are consistent with the view that extraocular photoreceptors participate in the photoperiodic gonadal response of Japanese quail.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cloaca / growth & development
  • Cloaca / radiation effects*
  • Coturnix / physiology*
  • Feathers / physiology*
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena
  • Organ Size
  • Periodicity*
  • Pigmentation
  • Quail / physiology*
  • Testis / anatomy & histology*