The agile Antechinus required for this study were trapped in wet sclerophyll forest near Powelltown, ~100 km east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Department of Natural Resources and Environment Research Permit #96/ 080). All trapping (1206 trap nights) occurred between 3 August 1996 and 5 September 1996, dates that encompass the mating season for this species. The numbers of males and females captured per trap night were recorded throughout this period. Buy Advair Diskus Online
Assessment of Estrus and Detection of Mating and Ovulation
All females were returned to the laboratory following capture. Urine samples were collected on that day and examined under a light microscope for the presence or absence of cornified epithelial cells, which indicate the onset and development of estrus in this species. These samples were also examined for the presence or absence of spermatozoa, which indicate mating activity. As dasyurid spermatozoa are large (~270 ^m), they can be detected easily in the urine of females from the time of first mating up until the time of ovulation. After ovulation, the presence of cornified epithelial cells in the urine declines dramatically and sperm are absent. Hence, this procedure can be used to determine whether ovulation has occurred and as a possible indicator of pregnancy.