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Reproductive biology of the southern Brazilian pitviper Bothrops neuwiedi pubescens (Serpentes, Viperidae)

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Dissection of 286 specimens of the Bothrops neuwiedi pubescens, combined with data on captive individuals, provided information on the reproductive biology of this viperid snake from southern Brazil. Females attained larger body sizes than males, and reproduction was seasonal with mating taking place in autumn when males were more frequently encountered. Vitellogenesis occurred from summer to spring (January-September), sperm storage during autumn and winter (May-September), ovulation and fertilization in early spring (September), embryonic development during middle spring and summer (October-March), and parturition in the summer (January-March). Embryonic development was estimated to last from three to five months, a shorter time than was previously reported. The number of offspring of Bothrops neuwiedi pubescens born in one litter can vary from four to 25 (x = 11). Fecundity is correlated with maternal body size. Neonates measure 17-25 cm SVL. Inferred growth rate of juveniles was low (10 mm/month in first year), with males attaining sexual maturity at about 16 months, but maturity is delayed in females for at least two additional years.


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