SREL Reprint #1886|
Mass Dynamics During Embryonic Development and Parental Investment
in Cottonmouth Neonates
ABSTRACT. - Follicle and embryo development in the cottonmouth Agkistrodon piscivorus
were studied in adult females collected from a cypress swamp along the Savannah River in Aiken
County, South Carolina. Non-polar lipids were extracted from follicles, eggs, embryos, and
neonates. Egg dry mass averaged 4.70 g and was composed of 23.6% non-polar lipids. Neonate
dry mass averaged 3.35 g and was composed of 18.8% non-polar lipids. The rate of decrease in
the dry mass of egg components remained fairly constant in the early stages of development and
then accelerated during the last third of embryo development, a period that corresponds with the
most rapid phase of embryo growth. An average of 57% of the original egg non-polar lipids
remained in neonates as parental investment in care (PIC). At a temperature of 30 C, stored lipids
would fuel a neonate's standard metabolic rate for approximately 22 days.
SREL Reprint #1886
Fischer, R.U., D.E. Scott, J.D. Congdon, and S.A. Busa. 1994. Mass dynamics during embryonic development and parental investment in cottonmouth neonates. Journal of Herpetology 28:364-369.