OPISTHOTROPIS KUATUNENSIS (Chinese Mountain Keel

Tags: evacuation, unsuccessful sperm, sperm transport, Sistrurus catenatus, PANTHEROPHIS OBSOLETUS, University of Florida, Homestead, Florida, Catherine A. Smith, Everglades National Park, Krieger Publ, KENNETH L. KRYSKO, Gainesville, Florida, National Park Service, Hong Kong, Texas, Texas Ratsnake, Miami-Dade Co., nonindigenous, Hong Kong Amphibians and Reptiles, Herpetology of China, Florida Museum of Natural History, Short-tailed Snake, MALCOLM L. McCALLUM, Ray W. Snow, Malabar, Florida, Florida, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, California, USA, elevational limit, female reproductive tract, Pittsburgh Zoo, Game Commission, Department of Conservation of Natural Resources, Saint Louis University, Department of Biology, Saint Louis University, histological studies, J. Morphol, reproductive behavior, Exotic Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida, Puerto Rican Crested Anole, Klamath Mountains, Redwater Independent School District, reproductive behaviors, Halpert, SSTs, sperm storage, Kansas Mus
Content: This object was removed and identified as a nonindigenous R. braminus. In Florida, Wilson and Porras (1983. Univ. Kansas Mus. Nat. Hist., Spec. Publ. No. 9) first reported R. braminus from Miami-Dade Co., and this species has been reported to be preyed upon by Lampropeltis extenuata (Short-tailed Snake; Godley et al 2008. Herpetol. Rev. 39:473­474) and both the nonindigenous Rhinella marina (Cane Toad) and Anolis cristatellus (Puerto Rican Crested Anole; Meshaka et al. 2004. The Exotic Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida. Krieger Publ. Co., Malabar, Florida. 155 pp.). This is the first record of M. fulvius consuming a nonindigenous snake in Florida. Submitted by KENNETH L. KRYSKO (e-mail: [email protected] flmnh.ufl.edu), Catherine A. Smith (e-mail: [email protected] ufl.edu), Florida Museum of natural history, Division of Herpetology, P.O. Box 117800, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA; and Ray W. Snow, National Park Service, Everglades National Park, 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, Florida 33034 USA.
PANTHEROPHIS OBSOLETUS (Texas Ratsnake). DIET AND FEEDING BEHAVIOR. Pantherophis obsoletus is a common colubrid that feeds extensively on birds and mammals in the wild (Weatherhead et al. 2003. Am. Midl. Nat. 150:275­281) and will feed on dead rodents in captivity (MLM, pers. obs). However, observations of this species feeding on non-living anthropogenic sources of food are lacking. Each evening from mid-March through 25 April 2004, a single P. obsoletus (37 cm total length) returned to the back porch of the home at 2347 Pamela Dr., Chandler, Smith Co., Texas, USA (32.217°N, 95.506°W; NAD 1983), where it ate canned dog food from the dog's bowl and then departed. This observation adds to our understanding of the opportunistic nature of this species. Submitted by KEITHA PARKER, Redwater Independent School District, 202 Red River Road North, P.O. Box 347, Redwater, Texas 75573, USA (e-mail: [email protected]); and MALCOLM L. McCALLUM, 117 Linda Lane, Texarkana, Texas 75501, USA (e-mail: [email protected] org).
OPISTHOTROPIS KUATUNENSIS (Chinese Mountain Keelback). ENDOPARASITES. Opisthotropis kuatunensis occurs in Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Hong Kong, China (Zhao and Adler 1993. Herpetology of China. SSAR, Oxford, Ohio. 522 pp.). It was first reported in Hong Kong in 1974 (Karsen et al. 1986. Hong Kong Amphibians and Reptiles. The Urban Council, Hong Kong. 136 pp.). To our knowledge, there are no reports of helminths from O. kuatunensis. The purpose of this note is to establish an initial helminth list for O. kuatunensis. One female O. kuatunensis (SVL = 30.5 cm) was collected at New Territories, Hong Kong (22.24°N, 114.07°E, datum WGS 84; elev. 644 m) on 23 September 2009. The snake died the next day and was preserved in 70% ethanol. Sixteen swellings (5­10 mm) were noted along the length of the O. kuatunensis. Four of these were opened and each contained a yellowish, elongate parasite. Each was cleared in a drop of glycerol on a slide, cover slipped, studied under a compound microscope, and identified as nymphs of the pentastome Kiricephalus pattoni. Voucher helminths were deposited in the United States National Parasite Collection (USNPC), Beltsville, Maryland, USA as USNPC (102414). Adult K. pattoni inhabit the lungs of various snakes, and nymphs have been reported in a wide variety of amphibians and reptiles (Riley and Self 1980. Syst. Parasitol. 1:127­140). John and Nadakal (1988. Invert. Repro. Devel. 14:295­298) proposed a probable three-host life cycle for K. pattoni, amphibian/lizard first intermediate host, snake second intermediate host, and snake definitive host. Opisthotropis kuatunensis represents a new host record, a probable second intermediate host, for Kiricephalus pattoni. Submitted by Yik-Hei Sung, Division of Ecology & Biodiversity, School of biological sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China (e-mail: [email protected]); CHARLES R. BURSEY, Pennsylvania State University, Shenango Campus, Sharon, Pennsylvania 16146, USA (e-mail: [email protected]); and STEPHEN R. GOLDBERG, Whittier College, PO Box 634, Whittier, California 90608, USA (e-mail: [email protected]).
SISTRURUS CATENATUS (Massasauga). FEMALE SPERM EVACUATION. During mating, a single male transfers more sperm than necessary to fertilize the available ova of a female (Halliday and Arnold 1987. Anim. Behav. 35:939­941). This, coupled with the fact that females typically mate with several males during a single mating period (Uller and Olsson 2008. Mol. Ecol. 17:2566­2580), results in an abundance of sperm in the female reproductive tract. In many taxa, including reptiles, females often store this sperm for long periods (months to years) in specialized receptacles, sperm storage tubules (SST), in the infundibulum prior to fertilization (Sever and Hamlett 2002. J. Exp. Zool. 292:187­199). However, the fate of unsuccessful sperm within the female reproductive tract remains largely unknown. A detailed description of sperm evacuation from SSTs is restricted to one study on Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis (Halpert et al. 1982. J. Morphol. 174:149­159) in which the authors noted that sperm in infundibular SSTs from fall matings were evacuated within six hours after a spring mating. Halpert et al. (op. cit.) state that sperm from the spring matings replaced the sperm from fall matings within the SSTs. The fate of the evacuated fall sperm was undetermined, though the authors noted that fall sperm stained less intensely with fast green; a phenomenon they believed indicative of sperm degradation. Blanchard and Blanchard (1941. Pap. Michigan Acad. Sci., Arts Lett. 26:177­193) and Schuett and Gillingham (1986. Copeia 1986:807­811) however, observed that sperm from fall matings can be used in fertilization the following spring in T. s. sirtalis and Agkistrodon contortrix, respectively. Siegel and Sever (2008. J. Morphol. 269:189­206) provide the only detailed description of sperm transport and storage in a viper, Agkistrodon piscivorus, during the fall and subsequent spring mating periods. Siegel and Sever (op. cit.) found that sperm remained in A. piscivorus SSTs for up to 22 months following ovulation until the subsequent reproductive year at which time they were no longer observed. They hypothesized the mechanism for this disappearance to be either from spermiophagy by the SST epithelium or by the natural degradation of sperm; however, nei-
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ther of these processes were observed. Additionally, Siegel and Sever (op. cit.) failed to observe the evacuation of sperm from SSTs following the spring mating season as described by Halpert et al. (op. cit.). The following account adds to the scant literature above by providing an incident of sperm evacuation in a female Sistrurus catenatus. As part of a long-term study focusing on the conservation of S. catenatus in Butler Co., Pennsylvania, USA, free-ranging individuals were implanted with radio transmitters and monitored for a suite of ecological, behavioral (including mating activities), and physiological variables three times weekly. One female was initially encountered in May 2005 at which time an ultrasound revealed the presence of enlarged vitellogenic follicles indicating that she would likely give birth later in the year (birthed 19 August 2005). A fecal sample collected on 11 July 2005 to assess her general health and parasite load revealed something striking: numerous sperm (Fig. 1). Though isolated incidents of spring reproductive behavior have been reported in S. catenatus (Wright 1941. Am. Midl. Nat. 25:659­672; Jellen et al. 2007. J. Herpetol. 41:451­457), mating predominately occurs in the late summer­ early fall period (Jellen et al., op. cit.; Johnson 2000. J. Herpetol. 34:186­192; Reinert 1981. Am. Midl. Nat. 105:393­395). If this sperm represents sperm from a recent mating, it would pre-date the earliest recorded date of summer reproductive behavior in S. catenatus by approximately two weeks (24 July; Jellen et al., op. cit.). Additionally, though male S. catenatus have been observed to engage in reproductive behaviors with pregnant females (Jellen et al., op. cit.), this female was never observed in the vicinity of a male nor exhibited any mating behaviors throughout the course of the year. However, because this individual was free-ranging, and consequently not under constant surveillance, an unobserved copulation during the active season prior to 11 July 2005 cannot be ruled out. A more plausible explanation, however, is that this observation represents the systematic oviductal evacuation of sperm from matings during (or prior to) the 2004 late summer­ early fall mating period, which were unsuccessful in fertilizing ova in the spring of 2005. Siegel and Sever (op. cit.) report that sperm degrade in the posterior oviduct prior to ovulation in vipers and describe the only storage site for sperm during pregnancy as within SSTs. Although a definitive mechanism for sperm evacuation was not observed in Fig. 1. Sperm in a pregnant female Sistrurus catenatus fecal sample collected 11 July 2005. Sn, sperm nucleus; St, sperm tail; Fm, fecal material.
A. piscivorus, densities of sperm decreased in the SST over time until the subsequent mating season (Siegel and Sever, unpubl. data). A similar decrease in the presence of oviductal sperm following oviposition was observed in Tantilla coronata (Aldridge 1992. Amphibia-Reptilia 13:219­225). We propose that after ovulation, sperm are intermittently evacuated from SSTs. This process undoubtedly takes an extended period of time due to the lack of contractile elements associated with SSTs in snakes (for review see Siegel and Sever, op. cit.), and culminates with the eventual collection of sperm in the cloaca (a structure previously ignored in histological studies on sperm transport in snakes). Normal defecation then provides a proximate outlet for unsuccessful sperm in the female reproductive tract. We suggest that further histological and behavioral studies on sperm transport, storage, and evacuation are needed to confirm this phenomenon. We thank M. Kowalski, B. Levine, the Pittsburgh Zoo, Game Commission, and Department of Conservation of natural resources. Submitted by BENJAMIN C. JELLEN, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, 800 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222, USA; present address: Department of Biology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri 63103, USA (e-mail: ben. [email protected]); DUSTIN S. SIEGEL, and ROBERT D. ALDRIDGE, Department of Biology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri 63103, USA. THAMNOPHIS ATRATUS HYDROPHILUS (Oregon Gartersnake). MAXIMUM ELEVATION. Thamnophis atratus has been recorded at elevations up to 1920 m (6297 ft; St. John 2002. Reptiles of the Northwest. Lone Pine Publishing, Renton, Washington. 272 pp.). Here we report a population of T. a. hydrophilus, occurring entirely above this reported elevational limit in the Klamath Mountains, California, USA. Our observations occurred in upper Deep Creek Basin, Trinity Alps Wilderness, Trinity Co., California, USA (40.9176°N, 122.8876°W, datum NAD83). Deep Creek Basin is a medium-sized glacial characterized cirque (342 ha) encompassed by steep jagged peaks reaching elevations up to 2497 m, which are among the highest in the Klamath Mountains. We captured and individually marked 56 individual T. a. hydrophilus of various age classes during 2003­2006. We recaptured many of these individuals, with total captures reaching 127 over the four years of the study. All snakes were found in streams, ponds, and Echo Lake, at elevations ranging from 1960 to 2215 m. These observations expand the known vertical limit of T. atratus by 295 m (968 ft). Much of the Klamath Mountains including the Trinity Alps, Russian, Marble Mountain, and Siskiyou Wilderness areas contain similar aquatic habitats that exceed the known previous elevational limit for this species. In lower elevation streams, native salmonid fishes are an important component of T. a. hydrophilus diet (Welsh and Lind 2000. J. Herpetol. 34:67­74). Over the last century, nonnative salmonids have been introduced into most of the naturally fishless high-elevation aquatic habitats in the Klamath Mountains (Welsh et al. 2006. Divers. Distrib. 12:298­309). Introduced salmonid prey in the region may have allowed T. a. hydrophilus to expand into these high-elevation habitats (Pope et al. 2008 Biol. Conserv. 141:1321­1331).
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