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An integrative analysis of reproduction and stress in free-living male cottonmouths, Agkistrodon piscivorus

By Sean Patrick Graham

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Abstract

I conducted an integrative field study on male cottonmouths (Agkistrodon piscivorus), a common pitviper of the southeastern United States, to investigate the evolution of contrasting mating patterns in North American pitvipers (bimodal and unimodal annual patterns) and resolve conflicting information about the pattern exhibited by the cottonmouth. I determined a unimodal late summer peak of testosterone (T) and a muted unimodal seasonal cycle of the sexual segment of the kidney (a secondary sexual characteristic), both of which were correlated with the single peak of spermatogenesis in late summer. I also conducted a study to determine diel and seasonal variation of corticosterone (CORT), the effect of captive handling on CORT, and the relationship between CORT and T after captive handling, and detected a significant elevation of CORT and a significant decrease of T after capture in male cottonmouths, as well as a significant negative correlation between CORT and T.

Submitter

Megan Kendall super-administrator

Purdue University

Date 2006
Pages 98
Degree Master of Science
URL http://digitalarchive.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=biology_theses
Language English
Notes This thesis was found at the Digital Archives @ Georgia State University: http://digitalarchive.gsu.edu/
University Georgia State University
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Tags
  1. Animal welfare
  2. Health
  3. Mating behavior
  4. Reproduction
  5. Reptiles
  6. Sexual behavior