, Volume 134, Issue 4, pp 577–586 | Cite as

Sperm storage and morphofunctional bases of the female reproductive tract of the snake Philodryas patagoniensis from southeastern Brazil

  • Claudio Augusto Rojas
  • Verônica Alberto Barros
  • Selma Maria Almeida-Santos
Original Paper


Macroscopic and microscopic examination of the female reproductive tract of Philodryas patagoniensis was conducted in order to observe sperm storage structures and determine morphological changes throughout the reproductive cycle. The oviduct of P. patagoniensis is composed of the infundibulum (anterior and posterior), uterus, utero-vaginal junction, and vagina. The uterine epithelium showed constant secretory activity throughout the reproductive cycle, although increased production of secretory granules was observed in secondary vitellogenic females. Sperm storage occurs in the posterior infundibulum and utero-vaginal junction in pregnant, primary (postpartum), and secondary vitellogenic females. These data suggest that P. patagoniensis may be able to produce several clutches from a single mating. Sperm storage in the posterior infundibulum occurs in sperm receptacles, while in the utero-vaginal junction sperm is stored in crypts. Histochemical tests by periodic acid–Schiff revealed that both sperm storage sites increase the production of neutral carbohydrate-rich granules in the presence of sperm, similar to snakes from temperate regions. This is the first report of sperm storage in the posterior infundibulum of a neotropical snake.


Dipsadidae Oviduct Histology Histochemical reaction Scanning electron microscopy 



The authors thank C. Jared and M. Antoniazzi for kindly allowing the use of material and equipment in the Laboratory of Cell Biology (IB). S. R. Travaglia-Cardoso and D. Maia for supplying snakes received in the IB and G. A. Cotta for access to collection of FUNED. Thanks to R. E. Grassi Ricci for help with scanning electron microscope. This study is based on a PhD thesis undertaken by Claudio A. Rojas funded by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Tecnológico e Científico—CNPQ.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Augusto Rojas
    • 1
  • Verônica Alberto Barros
    • 2
  • Selma Maria Almeida-Santos
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Ecology and EvolutionButantan InstituteSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Animal Biology Postgraduate ProgrammeSão Paulo State University (UNESP)São José do Rio PretoBrazil

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