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The male reproductive cycle of the rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus)

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

Opheodrys aestivus is a slender, arboreal colubrid snake inhabiting the south-cast quarter of the U.S.A. Males reach sexual maturity (begin spermatogenesis) in their second calendar year of life (12 months of age). During the first spermatogenic season, enough sperm are produced to permit mating in the following spring. The spermatogenic cycle in this species is post-nuptial. Spermatogenesis begins in June and reaches a peak in July and August. The sexual segment of the kidney and plasma testosterone levels have a cycle opposite to that of the testis. Peak levels of testosterone and secretory activity of the sex segment occur in the early spring (April) and late summer (August). The occurrence of a late summer increase in testosterone and sex segment of the kidncy is discussed in relation to season of mating.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis MO, 63103 U.S.A.; 2: Department of Biology, Memphis State University, Memphis TN 38152 U.S.A.; 3: Department of Biology, Harding University, Searcy AR, 72143 U.S.A.


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