Ovarian biopsy: a non-terminal method to determine reproductive status in giant kokopu, Galaxias argenteus (Gmelin 1789)

Ovarian biopsy: a non-terminal method to determine reproductive status in giant kokopu, Galaxias argenteus (Gmelin 1789)
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To establish a method of gonad biopsy for ovarian tissue collection in the declining giant kokopu Galaxias argenteus (Gmelin 1789) as an alternative to lethal sampling in order to understand the species' reproductive biology.

METHODS: Six female giant kokopu weighing between 200 and 350 g were caught from the wild in early December of 2009 and transferred to a holding facility (Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin) where they were kept under a simulated natural photo-thermal regime for 10 months. Fish were repeatedly biopsied for ovarian tissue at near-monthly intervals (mean number of days between biopsies = 33) until ovulation.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Ovarian samples were successfully collected from giant kokopu by biopsy for use in downstream analyses. Among a total of 23 biopsy events, a single death occurred when a two-layered suturing approach was used, highlighting the value of this method for study of the reproductive biology of valuable fish.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This biopsy method may have implications for veterinary research on fish physiology, pathology, conservation and development, when repeated tissue samples need to be collected over a prolonged period of time or for general surgical manipulations on fish when accessing the coelom. Furthermore, this approach allows the implementation of a more powerful experimental design, as repeated measures reduces the variability of estimates due to the removal of inherent stage differences among individuals.


KEY WORDS: Kokopu, surgery, conservation, biopsy, fish, suture, gonad, ovary, whitebait

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