The short-beaked echidna, native to Australia, is an excellent model of a monotreme, which are egg-laying mammals. Egg-laying is closely coupled with hibernation so studying the reproductive habits of these mammals has proven difficult. Scientists have begun to unravel the reproductive behaviors of our adorable spiky friends by monitoring captive mating echidna’s serum reproductive hormones. Although monitoring serum reproductive hormones has shown promise, collecting serum samples of wild Echidnas has proven difficult and is unnecessarily stressful for the animal. In a recently published study, scientists have investigated whether we can detect the animal’s hormonal makeup from the collection of their spines. Utilizing Arbor Assays reproductive hormone ELISA kits, researchers discovered detectable levels of testosterone (#K032), estradiol (#KB30), Progesterone (#K025), Corticosterone (#K014), and cortisol (#K003) in extracted Echidna spines. Since reproductive hormones are detectable in Echidna spines, researchers may be better able to track the reproductive behaviors of wild Echidnas.

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