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Reproductive biology of the Sword Snake Tomodon dorsatus (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) in South Brazil: comparisons within the tribe Tachymenini

In: Amphibia-Reptilia
Authors:
Luiza LoebensLaboratory of Herpetology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Santa Maria Federal University, Santa Maria, Brazil

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Selma Maria Almeida-SantosLaboratory of Ecology and Evolution, Butantan Institute, São Paulo, Brazil

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Sonia Zanini CechinLaboratory of Herpetology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Santa Maria Federal University, Santa Maria, Brazil

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Abstract

We described the reproductive cycle, size-fecundity relationships, reproductive effort, and sexual maturity of Tomodon dorsatus in South Brazil. We examined 87 individuals (25 males and 62 females) from herpetological collections. The description of the reproductive cycle was based on the morpho-anatomical and histological changes in male testes, ductus deferens, and kidney and in female ovary and oviduct. The age at the onset of sexual maturity was estimated by skeletochronology of the caudal vertebra. The reproduction is seasonal semi-synchronous with most of the individuals showing a reproductive peak in the spring. Males and females have developed sperm storage strategies, increasing the reproductive success. Males store sperm in the ductus deferens during the autumn and winter, while females storage takes place in the utero-vaginal junction furrows during the autumn and early winter. Larger females produce a higher number of larger follicles and eggs. Females invest more in growth before reaching sexual maturity than males. Females reach sexual maturity earlier (4 years old) than males (5 years old) and have larger bodies but lower longevity. Reproductive strategies of Tachymenini specie are highly conserved.

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