Reproductive biology, sperm storage, and sexual maturity of Thamnodynastes strigatus (Serpentes: Dipsadidae)

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Life history strategies determine and influence many aspects of species fitness. In this study, we describe the reproductive biology - reproductive cycle, sperm storage, and sexual maturity - of Thamnodynastes strigatus in South Brazil. We analyzed 49 individuals (25 males and 24 females) from herpetological collections. The reproductive cycle of males and females was described considering the morpho-anatomical and histological changes in the testes, ductus deferens, and kidney, as well in the ovary and oviduct. The age at the onset of sexual maturity was determined by skeletochronology of the caudal vertebra. The reproductive cycle is seasonal semi-synchronous and most individuals have a reproductive peak in spring and summer. The seasonal biennial reproductive cycle and viviparity are two phylogenetically conserved characters in Tachymenini snakes. Thamnodynastes Strigatus females store sperm in the utero-vaginal junction furrows during autumn. There were no differences between the ages of sexual maturity of males (4-11y) and females (4-12y). Females reach sexual maturity at larger body sizes, and this may confer an adaptive advantage due to a higher fecundity potential. Herein, we confirmed the previously described seasonal biennial reproductive cycle of T. strigatus through histological analysis.
Loebens L, Theis TF., Almeida-Santos SM, Cechin SZ.. Reproductive biology, sperm storage, and sexual maturity of Thamnodynastes strigatus (Serpentes: Dipsadidae). An. Acad. Bras. Cienc. 2022 June;94(2):e20211087. doi:10.1590/0001-3765202220211087.
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