Caudal oviduct coiling in a viperid snake, Crotalus durissus

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Sperm storage is common in the oviducts of female snakes and results in the decoupling of mating from ovulation and fertilization. In the majority of female snakes examined, sperm storage occurs in receptacles of the infundibular regions of the oviducts. In pitvipers (Viperida, Crotalinae), the storage of sperm was described in the caudal regions of the oviducts (utero‐vaginal junction) through a mechanism termed uterine muscular twisting (UMT). Uterine muscular twisting was described as a twisting of the oviducts after copulation because of uterine contractions. The twisting remains until ovulation at which time the oviducts straighten and sperm migrate cranially to fertilize ovulated ova. Here, we demonstrate that the UMT is not formed by twisting (rotation around axis) of the oviducts of Crotalus durissus but rather coils formed by the inner layers of the oviducts at the utero‐vaginal junction. Contrary to previous findings, coiling of the oviducts is present in females throughout the year, not only in the postcopulatory period; however, the degree of coiling is variable and may be linked to the seasonal reproductive cycle of C. durissus. We categorize the degree of coiling as pronounced coil, discreet coil or absent coil.
Muniz-da-Silva DF, Passos J, Siegel DS., Almeida-Santos SM. Caudal oviduct coiling in a viperid snake, Crotalus durissus. Acta Zool.. 2020 Jan;101(1):69-77. doi:1463-6395.
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