Cytogenetic Examination of South American Tapirs, Tapirus Terrestris (Perissodactyla, Tapiridae), from the Wroclaw Zoological Garden

B. Kosowska 1 , T. Strzała 1 , M. Moska 1 , R. Ratajszczak 2  and T. Dobosz 3
  • 1 Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, ul. Kożuchowska, 7, Wrocław, 51–631 Poland
  • 2 Wroclaw ZOO, ul. Wróblewskiego, 1–5, Wrocław, 51–618 Poland
  • 3 Wroclaw Medical University, ul. J. Mikulicza-Radeckiego, 4, Wrocław, 50–345 Poland


Cytogenetic Examination of South American Tapirs, Tapirus terrestris (Perissodactyla, Tapiridae) from the Wroclaw Zoological Garden. Kosowska, B., Strzała, T., Moska, M., Ratajszczak, R., Dobosz, T. - Seven lowland tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) from Wrocław ZOO (three females and four males), differing from each other with exterior and sexual behaviour were verified with cytogenetic analysis in order to check their taxonomic status. Cytogenetic analysis was done using two alternative methods of blood collection: 1) conventionally with venepuncture, and 2) with blood sucking bugs from the Reduviidae family. Lymphocytes capable of growing were obtained only with conventional method of blood sampling. Karyotypes and karyograms of all analyzed tapirs were created using classical cytogenetic methods of chromosomes staining. All possessed karyograms had diploid chromosome number equal 80 (2n = 80). Homologous chromosomes did not differ between each other with quantity, size, centromeres location, length of arms, G bands and all were classified as proper karyograms of Tapirus terrestris species representatives. The X chromosomes as well as the first pair of chromosomes (both metacentric), were the largest among all analyzed, respectively. All remaining 38 pairs of chromosomes were acrocentric with Y chromosome as the smallest one (in males’ karyograms). Blood collected with blood sucking bugs proved to be unsuitable for cell culture. None of the seven established cultures was effective as lymphocytes obtained with this method did not show growth potential in prepared media. Thus, blood collected from the tapirs via Dipetalogaster maxima species did not show usefulness for cytogenetic studies due to the inability of cells to proliferation, even after a relatively short period of time elapsed since the blood sampling (1 to 2 hours).

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