The female reproductive organs include a pair of ovaries, a pair of oviducts, a pair of uteri, vagina, vestibule, clitoris and some accessory glands.
  • The two ovaries are small, whitish, oval bodies, about 2 cm long.
  • They are found behind the kidneys, each ovary attached to the dorsal abdominal wall by a double fold of peritoneum called mesovarium.
  • From the surface of ovaries project several blister-like, small, rounded, semitransparent projections, called ovarian or Graafian follicles, each containing a developing ovum.
  • Histologically, the section of a rabbit ovary shows a peripheral layer of germinal epithelial cells surrounding a dense mass of connective tissue fibres, called stroma, containing blood andlymph vessels and nerve.
  • Stroma contains groups of actively dividng germinal cells, called follicle in various stages of development.
  • In each follicle, a single cell enlarges firswhile others surround and nourish it. It ultimately beomes oocyte orovum.
  • The mass of cells around oocyte is known as discusproligerous.
  • When ripe, the follicles are known as Graafian follicles, which project from thesurface of ovary as minute bumps.
  • Each graafian follicle contains a large fluid - filled follicular cavity.
  • The cells lining the cavity are termed membrana granulosa.
  • The fully mature oocyte is surrounded by a thick transparent membrane called zona pellucida containing yolk and fat droplets.
  • It is covered by another striated layer ot columnar cells, called corona radiata.
  • In the stroma there are also found groups of interstitial cells which produce sex hormones (oestrogen).
  • Eventually each mature follicle bursts to liberate the oocyte into body cavity, a process known as ovulation.
  • The follicular cells remaining behind divide rapidly to form a yellowish solid mass of cells called corpus luteum.
  • During pregnancy it serves as a temporary endocrine gland secreting a hormone (progesterone).
  • It causes uterus to enlarge to receive the growing foetus and stimulates lactation.
  • If ovum is not fertilized, corpus luteum gradually disappears leaving a scar called corpus albicans.
  • Each oviduct opens anteriorly, close to the outer border of the ovary of its side, by a wide funnel called fallopian or oviducal funnel.
  • The opening of funnel, or ostium, is provided with many cilia to receive the minute ova released from the ovary.
  • Funnel leads into the upper part of oviduct. It is a short, narrow, coiled and internally ciliated duct called fallopian tube. Ova pass. through this tube by ciliary action and fertilization also occurs here.
  • The fallopian tube is followed by a much wider, longer convoluted, thick walled muscular tube the uterus.
  • It is richly vascular and highly distensible and attached to the dorsal abdominal wall by a mesentery.
  • Fertilized ova or zygotes get implanted on the uterine wall to develop into embryos or foetuses, each attached to the placenta by an umbilical cord.
  • The uteri of both the sides meet into a long wide, median duct, the vagina, lying dorsally upon the urinary bladder.
  • It opens posteriorly into the neck of bladder to join the urethra forming a short narrow common urinogenital canal or vestibule.
  • It runs backwards ventral to the rectum and opens to the exterior by a slit-like aperture, the vulva.
  • The vagina serves to receive the penis of the male during copulation.
  • From the anterior wall of vulva projects a small erectile knob-like clitoris.
  • It is regarded homologous with the male penis since it contains a pair of erectile tissue, the corpora cavernosa.
  • But the urethra does not pass through the clitoris.
  • In the female rabbit, there is no prostate gland.
  • A pair of small Bartholin’s glands or Cowper’s glands lies embedded in the dorsal wall of vestibule.
  • Their viscid secretion lubricates the vaginal passage. The perineal and rectal glands are as in the male.
In rabbit the sexes are separate i.e. unisexual and sexual dimorphism is well marked.
  • The male reproductive organs include a pair of testes, a pair of epididymes, a pair of vasa deferentia, urethra, penis and some accessory glands.
  • The paired testes are small, ovoid bodies of light pink colour.
  • Each testes lies in a special thin-walled sac of hairy skin outside the abdominal cavity, called the scrotum.
  • It is located ventrally in the pubic region.
  • In the foetus and new born rabbit, the testes lie within the abdominal cavity near kidneys where they were developed.
  • But at puberty, they descend through inguinal canals into scrotal sacs.
  • In most species of mammals the testes remain within scrotal sacs throught life.
  • But in rabbit, rat and other rodents, they are migratory. They descend into the scrotum during the breeding season, but withdraw into the abdominal cavity during non-breeding periods through inguinal canals which remain open throught life.
  • The reason for this is spermatozoa can develop within the scrotalsacs at low temperature but cannot develop inside abdomen at normal temperature.
testis ls rabbit thumb1
  • Histologically, the mammalian testis is composed of a number of wedge-shaped or cone-shaped compartments or locules.
  • The outer protective covering of testis, the tunica aibuginea, is a tough capsule made of white fibrous connective tissue, which projects inwards forming interlobular septa.
  • Each lobule contains long, slender, much convoluted microscopic seminiferous tubules bound together by connective tissue.
  • The germinal epithelium lining of the tubule is made of two kinds of cells.
  • The most numerous are the smaller spermatogenic cells which undergo spermatogenesis to produce spermatozoa.


sperm structure thumb1


  • A few larger, tall, columnar supporting cells, called Sertoli cells, nourish the sperm cells before they leave the tubule.
  • Each sperm consists of a head composed mainly of the nucleus, and a long cytoplasmic tail.
  • In the connective tissue between the seminiferous tubules lie scattered the interstitial cells or the cells of Leydig which are endocrine in function.
  • All the seminiferous tubules in each testis open into a network called rete testis.
  • It opens by several fine ductules lined by cilia, called vasa efferentia, into the epididymis.
  • The spermatozoa produced by testis are transferred through vasa efferentia into the epididymis.

  • The epididymis is an irregular, narrow and highly convoluted tubule of great length.
  • It forms a compact ridge-like mass all along the inner surface of the testis.
  • The epididymis has three distinct parts.
  • It is the head or anterior part which is connected with the anterior end of the testis through vasa efferentia. It lies buried in the fat body.
  • It is also connected with the dorsal abdominal wall by a spermatic duct consisting of connective tissue spermatic artery, spermatic vein and a nerve.
  • The vein forms an extensive capillary network round the artery called the pampiniform plexus.
  • It is the tail or posterior part which connects the posterior end of the testis to the scrotal sac by a thick elastic cord of connective tissue, called the gubernaculum.
  • When it shortens, it draws the testis into the scrotal sac.
  • It is the narrow body or middle part connecting the caput and the cauda epididymis.
  • The basal end of each epididymis (cauda epididymis) leads into a yellowish-white, straight, and muscular tube, the sperm duct or vas deferens.
  • It runs forward along the inner side of the scrotal sac, traverses the inguinal canal to enterthe abdominal cavity.
  • It loops ventrally under the ureter and opens dorsally into urethra immediately in front of the opening of the ureter.
  • A small slightly bifurcated blindsac, uterus masculinus or seminal vesicle, opens dorsally into urethra just dorsal to the openings of vasa deferentia.
  • The neck of the urinary bladder and the vasa deferentia open into a thick-walled muscular duct, the urethra. It is the common passage for both urine and semen and called the urinogenital duct.
  • It traverses and opens at the tip of the penis as the male urinogenital aperture.
  • The copulatory organ or penis is a small, cylindrical and erectile organ in front of the anus.
  • It is composed of three longitudinal columns of spongy erectile tissue, which become filled with blood during sexual exitement to produce erection of penis.
  • Surrounding the urethra is corpus spongiosum above which lie the two corpora cavernosa.
  • The penis is enclosed in a sheath of skin which hangs loosely as a fold over its cap-like tip known as prepuce.
  • The penis serves to transmit sperms into the vagina of the female during sexual intercourse.
  • The operation of circumcision is the removal of the prepuce.

  • Several accessory sex glands open into urethra of male.
  • Their secretions, together with those of epididymes and uterus masculinus, constitute the seminal fluid or semen.
  • A large prostate gland lies dorsally around the base of uterus masculinus.
  • It opens into urethra by several small ducts. Its whitish alkaline secretion activates the passive spermatozoa.

  • A pair of Cowper's glands lie posteriorly to the prostate glands dorsally at the base of penis.
  • Their secretion neutralizes acidity for the protection of spermatozoa.
  • These are a pair of dark elongated scent glands lying behind the Cowper's glands.
  • As mentioned earlier, they open into the hairless perineal depressions one on either side of anus.
  • Their odorous secretion gives the rabbit its characteristic smell.

  • A pair of rectal glands of unknown function is situated dorsally on the rectum


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