Repro. System - Female

Like all mammals, the female reproductive tract consists of the ovaries, uterus, cervix, and vagina. Examination of the reproductive tract during necropsy can reveal a lot of life history information about an individual. For example, the presence and number of CORPUS ALBINCANS (white bodies) can tell you the approximate number of pregnancies that the animal has experienced.

In California sea lions, a fairly common finding is urogenital carcinoma (see more in the pathology section here). Often this disease manifests as lesions on the cervix or elsewhere in the reproductive tract and can spread (metastasize) throughout the body. A thorough examination of the reproductive tract during necropsy will include close visual exam of the vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries looking for lesions, CORPUS ALBINCANS or CORPUS LUTEUM (indicating a pregnancy) or placental scars from recent pregnancies. Don’t forget to check out these same structures in the sea otter on our sister site, The Inner Otter.

 Detailed annotated images of the female reproductive tract in a California Sea Lion are shown below.   CLICK on an image to see an enlarged view.