Advances in Zoology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 680861, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/680861
Research Article

Reproductive Biology of Bothrops erythromelas from the Brazilian Caatinga

1Animal Biology Postgraduate Programme, São Paulo State University (UNESP), 2265 Cristovão Colombo Street, 15054-000 São José do Rio Preto, SP, Brazil
2Laboratory of Ecology and Evolution, Butantan Institute, 1500 Vital Brasil Avenue, 05503-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Department of Protected Areas, Ministry of the Environment in Brazil (MMA), Marie Prendi Cruz Building, SEPN 505 North, Room 401, 70.730-542 Brasília, DF, Brazil
4Department of Experimental Neurology, Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), 669 Pedro de Toledo Street, Research Building II, 04039-032 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 9 September 2014; Accepted 29 October 2014; Published 16 December 2014

Academic Editor: Ariovaldo A. Giaretta

Copyright © 2014 Verônica Alberto Barros et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The reproductive biology of Bothrops erythromelas, a small pit viper from the Caatinga, a semiarid biome in Brazil, is described based on analysis of individuals deposited in zoological collections. Males are smaller and also attain sexual maturity at a smaller size than females. Female reproductive cycle is seasonal with an extended period of secondary vitellogenesis and births occurring in a restricted period from late spring to early summer. Sperm storage in females may probably occur in infundibular tubular glands and uterine muscular twisting (UMT), which is a polymorphic condition within B. erythromelas. Seasonal spermatogenesis in males is variable with some intraspecific variation regarding the male reproductive stage per season. Most males are reproductively active during spring/summer and reproductively quiescent during autumn/winter, although some individuals vary (e.g., show testicular spermatogenesis and active sexual segment of the kidneys (SSK) during winter). The SSK could be identified in every male. Most males showed highly hypertrophied SSK in spring/summer and moderately hypertrophied SSK in autumn/winter. The ampulla ductus deferentis was observed and histochemical reactions were conducted. We discuss the probable influence of the unique environmental conditions of the Caatinga region and phylogenetic inertia in the reproductive patterns of this snake species.