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Female reproductive biology of the southeastern crowned snake (Tantilla coronata)

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Female Tantilla coronata reach sexual maturity in the spring of their third calendar of life (about 21 months of age) at about 150 mm snout-vent length. Vitellogenesis occurs in the spring, ovulation in June and oviposition in June and early July. Both ovaries are fully functional despite the lack of a functional left oviduct. The number of vitellogenic follicles is correlated with snout-vent length, however, the number of eggs or corpora lutea are not correlated with snout-vent length. Mean litter size and percent of females reproductive varied between years. The difference in the expected litter size between snakes with vitellogenic follicles and snakes with oviducal eggs or corpora lutea is due to atresia of vitellogenic follicles. Coelomic fat mass of adults showed a significant negative correlation during the course of vitellogenesis. Fat mass increased significantly following oviposition, however, some females had low coelomic reserves in late summer.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA; 2: University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, PO Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA


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