The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 13. Mating plugs and male sperm storage in Bothrops cotiara (Serpentes, Viperidae)

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pp. 115-119

Authors: Verônica A. Barros, Claudio A. Rojas & Selma M. Almeida-Santos

Abstract:  We describe two new aspects of male reproduction in the pit viper Bothrops cotiara: the formation of mating plugs and epididymal sperm storage. Based on histological analyses of specimens (four males and three females), we propose that long-term sperm storage occurs in the ductus deferens, whereas macroscopic hypertrophy indicates that the epididymis may be a short-term sperm storage site. Secretions of the sexual segment of the kidneys probably form the mating plug that males deposit in the female vagina during copulation. A mating plug without sperm was observed in the spring. Future studies should address the functions and longevity of mating plugs and the role of the epididymis in Bothrops reproduction.

Key words: ductus deferens, ductus epididymis, neotropical region, reproduction, snakes, SSK

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