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The reproductive cycle of Pleurodema thaul (Anura, Leptodactylidae) in central Chile

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The reproductive cycle of Pleurodema thaul is described. Males were analyzed according to their spermatogenic stage using histological sections of their testes. For females we used the size and pigmentation of the ovarian follicles. The results show a partially continuous reproductive cycle. Males produce sperm during almost all the year. Spermatogenesis is initiated in summer (February-March), when the seminiferous tubules contain abundant undifferentiated spermatozoids, which are transformed to spermatozoa as fall advances (MayJune). The first spermatozoa appeared in late May, and spermatogenesis increased from July to September, sometimes to November. Females present bimodal vitellogenic activity. The first vitellogenic phase is initiated in late February with a progressive maturation of the oocytes, reaching the post-vitellogenic stage between June and August. The breeding period is established during these months and continues until December. In September, some females can begin the vitellogenesis, with a second stage that ends in middle December, when the oocytes that were not spawned, pass massively to the atresic stage. The fat bodies show a synchronic increase with the gametogenic activity in both sexes, that coincide with the greater reproductive activity. Fat bodies are likely to be used as energetic reserve for the vitellogenic activity.

Resumen. Se describe el ciclo reproductivo de Pleurodema thaul. El ciclo de los machos fue analizado según su estado espermatogénico realizando cortes histológicos de testículos. El ciclo de las hembras se analizó de acuerdo a la variación anual de los tamaños y pigmentación de los folículos ováricos. Los resultados muestran un ciclo reproductivo parcialmente continuo. Los machos producen espermatozoides durante casi todo el año. La espermatogénesis se inicia en verano (febrero-marzo), donde los túbulos seminíferos se encuentran con abundantes espermátidas indiferenciadas, que se transforman en espermatozoides a medida que avanza el otoño (mayo-junio). Los primeros espermatozoides son liberados a mediados de mayo. La espermatogénesis se incrementa de julio a septiembre y se puede extender hasta noviembre. Las hembras presentan actividad vitelogénica bimodal. Una primera onda se inicia a fines de febrero con una maduración progresiva de los oocitos, alcanzando el estado post-vitelogénico entre junio y agosto. El periodo de apareamiento se establece entre estos meses y continua hasta diciembre. En septiembre, algunas hembras parecen reiniciar la vitelogénica, con una segunda onda que concluye a mediados de diciembre, cuando los oocitos que no han sido desovados, pasan masivamente al estado atrésico. En ambos casos, los cuerpos grasos muestran un aumento en forma sincrónica con la actividad gametogénica, coincidiendo con el período de mayor actividad reproductiva, por lo que se estima su utilización como reserva energética para la actividad vitelogénica.


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