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Muroid Copulatory Plugs and Female Reproductive Tracts: A Comparative Investigation

Denis J. Baumgardner, Thomas G. Hartung, D. Kim Sawrey, Daniel G. Webster, Donald A. Dewsbury
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1380677 110-117 First published online: 25 February 1982


Structural variations in copulatory plugs and female reproductive tracts are described for 23 species of muroid rodents. Females were killed and examined 15 min after receiving one ejaculation from a conspecific male. Measurements of the copulatory plug and the female's reproductive tract were then recorded. The data suggest that: 1) vaginal length may be a significant determinant of plug length, the coagulant essentially occupying the entire vaginal lumen; 2) vaginal length significantly covaries with penile length; 3) lengths of the upper reproductive tract of the female are significantly related to her body mass and do not appear to be influenced by insemination; and 4) tract lengths do not appear to vary appreciably with the estrous cycle, at least in Peromyscus maniculatus bairdi.

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