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Reproduction of the water snake Helicops infrataeniatus (Colubridae) in southern Brazil

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

The reproductive cycle, sexual maturity, fecundity, and sexual dimorphism of Helicops infrataeniatus Jan, 1865, were inferred from the analysis of 374 preserved specimens (110 males, 140 females) from the eastern Central Depression of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. There was no statistical difference between the SVL of newborn males and females, but mature females attained greater length than mature males. The tail of mature individuals was proportionally longer in males than in females. Males matured at a smaller size than females. The reproductive cycle of this species was longer than what is known for oviparous colubrids from subtropical and temperate zones of Brazil. In the studied population, vitellogenesis occurred from September to February. Oviductal embryos were found from September to May. Births took place in September, January, February and March, and occurred in two peaks. Litter size ranged from 5 to 22 offspring. The differences between the number of vitellogenic follicles and embryos, and between embryos and newborns were not significant, thus practically all follicles were generally converted into embryos and embryos into newborns.


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