SREL Reprint #2037

 

 

 

 

WHOLE BODY LIPID DYNAMICS AND REPRODUCTION IN THE EASTERN COTTONMOUTH, AGKISTRODON PISCIVORUS

DAVID E. SCOTT, ROBERT U. FISCHER, JUSTIN D. CONGDON, AND SCOTT A. BUSA

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA

ABSTRACT: We measured non-polar lipids in juvenile, male, and gravid and non-gravid female eastern cottonmouths, Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus, during a 2-yr period. Lipids in carcass, liver, fat bodies, and gonads differed among the four groups, although all stored over 55% of their total lipids in fat bodies. Total lipids declined in males and non-gravid females the first year of the study, and a gradual increase in lipids occurred during the second year. Lipid levels in juveniles were lowest during winter and increased each summer. Gravid females had highest lipid levels prior to ovulation, after which both total lipids and fat body lipids declined throughout the gestation period. During April, total lipid levels were significantly greater in gravid females than in all other groups. A large portion of the variation in total lipids was due to unexplained differences between years, as evidenced by females with 10% lipids that were non-gravid in the first year compared to females with 6% lipids that were gravid in the second year.

Key words: Agkistrodon piscivorus; Annual variation; Fat bodies; Lipid cycle; Lipid utilization; Reproduction; Snake; Total lipids; Vitellogenesis

SREL Reprint #2037

Scott, D.E., R.U. Fischer, J.D. Congdon, and S.A. Busa. 1995. Whole body lipid dynamics and reproduction in the Eastern cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus. Herpetologica 51:472-487.

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