Reproductive biology of the horned viper, Cerastes cerastes gasperettii in the central region of Saudi Arabia

Journal Article
Al-Sadoon, M.K. . 2015
Magazine \ Newspaper: 
Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences
Volume Number: 
351 - 357
Publication Abstract: 

The reproductive biology of the horned viper, Cerastes cerastes gasperettii, in Riyadh

region of Saudi Arabia was investigated over a period of one year. Study of reproductive cycle

of male and female C. c. gasperettii revealed that the breeding season is relatively short (April

and May). Thereafter females laid eggs by mid of July and hatching probably had taken place

by the end of September. No activity was observed during winter, this may indicate just a single

clutch per year. Relative testis weight to body weight was drastically increased ( X = 0.88%) during

the peak of reproductive activity (May) where maximal expansion of seminiferous tubules was also

attained during April and May ( X = 209 lm and 191 lm, respectively). Likewise, the ovarian activity

was the highest during May where ovarian parameters were greater in terms of relative ovarian

weight to body weight and ova diameter being 0.46% and 2.29 mm, respectively. Fat body weight

was increased drastically just before the peak of reproductive activity then started to decline during

June. It could be concluded that the harsh desert conditions and similar environments certainly

affect reproductive activity of Saudi Arabian reptiles including snakes.

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