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German Journal of Herpetology

Seixas, F., F. Morinha, C. Luis, N. Alvura & M. A. Pires

In Issues 2020

DNA-validated parthenogenesis: first case in a captive Cuban boa (Chilabothrus angulifer). pp. 83-86

Abstract. Parthenogenesis is a biological process of asexual reproduction. Recent studies have highlighted the significance of this fascinating phenomenon in vertebrate evolution. Although parthenogenetic reproduction appears to be widespread among reptiles, a restricted number of cases have been reported both in captivity and in the wild. Here we studied and reported an intriguing case of a 20-year old captive female Cuban boa (Chilabothrus angulifer), from the Zoo da Maia (Maia, Portugal) collection, isolated from conspecific males, that has given birth twice in four years. The neonates from both deliveries, one fresh and the other fixed in formalin, were subjected to histopathological and molecular genetics analyses. Both neonates were homozygous for the loci analysed, carrying only maternal alleles. Furthermore, morphological abnormalities (anophthalmia) were observed in the second neonate. Our data support a pattern of parthenogenetic reproduction. This is the first documented case suggesting facultative parthenogenesis in a Cuban boa, which can be of great interest for further research on ecology, evolution, captive breeding and conservation of the species.

 Key words. Squamata, Serpentes, Boidae, facultative parthenogenesis, microsatellite genotyping, snake.

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