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Interpopulational variation in sexual dimorphism, reproductive output, and parasitism of Liophis miliaris (Colubridae) in the Atlantic forest of Brazil

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Sexual maturity, sexual dimorphism, reproductive output, and parasitism of the colubrid snake Liophis miliaris were compared among populations inhabiting four regions of Brazil: (1) northern coastal Atlantic forest, (2) southern coastal Atlantic forest, (3) northern inland Atlantic forest (4) southern inland Atlantic forest. Females delayed maturity and attained larger body sizes than males in all regions. Males and females from northern Atlantic forest were smaller and attained maturity with a smaller body size than males of other regions. The sexual size dimorphism index ranged from 0.19 to 0.23 and was lowest in the northern Atlantic forest. There was no sexual dimorphism in head length in any of the populations studied. Clutch size was similar in all populations and increased with maternal body size. The reproductive frequency was lower in the northern coastal Atlantic forest and in contrast to the other regions, tended to increase with female body size. The nematoda Ophidiascaris sp. and cystacanths of Oligacanthorynchus spira (Acanthocephala) occurred equally in both sexes. Fewer snakes from the northern coastal Atlantic forest were infested by parasites compared to the other regions and parasitism apparently did not influence reproduction.


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