Zoological Studies

Vol. 53, 2014

Resting metabolic rate and energetics of reproduction in lactating Eothenomys miletus from Hengduan mountain region

Wan-long Zhu* and Zheng-kun Wang

School of Life Science of Yunnan Normal University, Kunming 650500, China

Background: It has been advocated that variation in resting metabolic rate (RMR) may affect the reproductive performance of female animals. In order to investigate the relationships between RMR and reproductive output in lactating Eothenomys miletus, body mass, RMR, food intake, litter size and mass, as well as the weight of visceral organs and gastrointestinal tract were measured in the female E. miletus prior to reproduction and at late lactation.
It showed that RMR was 39.62% higher at late lactation than prior to reproduction. There was no significant correlation between RMR prior to reproduction and reproductive output. However, RMR at late lactation was positively correlated with body mass, food intake, litter size and mass, and weight of visceral organs and gastrointestinal tract at late lactation, within which RMR was more related to gastrointestinal tracts than the visceral organs. Moreover, serum leptin levels were positively correlated with body fat mass, RMR, and food intake at late lactation.
Conclusions: Our data supported the hypothesis that animals with higher RMR during lactation may have a greater digestion and absorption capacity in the digestive system for absorbing energy and may be able to devote more energy for reproduction. Leptin may participate in the regulation of body mass in lactating E. miletus.

Key words: Eothenomys miletus; Resting metabolic rate; Serum leptin levels; Lactation.

*Correspondence: E-mail: zwl_8307@163.com