Infundibular sperm storage and uterine muscular twisting in the Amazonian lancehead, Bothrops atrox

Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2020 Dec;303(12):3145-3154. doi: 10.1002/ar.24309. Epub 2019 Nov 20.


Although knowledge about the reproduction of snakes of the genus Bothrops has increased recently, many questions remain regarding sperm storage by these neotropical pitvipers. The relationship between two known sperm storage sites-the nonglandular uterus and the infundibulum-has yet to be detailed for Bothrops. In addition, the formation of uterine muscular twisting (UMT) and its function in sperm storage in the nonglandular uterus have been questioned. This article presents data on both sperm storage sites (posterior infundibulum and nonglandular uterus) in the Amazonian lancehead, Bothrops atrox, aiming to address the role of UMT in bothropoid reproduction considering female reproductive stages, timing of sperm storage, and morphology and histochemistry of sperm receptacles. The oviduct of B. atrox is composed of the infundibulum (anterior and posterior), the glandular uterus, the nonglandular uterus and the pouch. Sperm storage occurs in the posterior infundibulum and nonglandular uterus in vitellogenic females. In the posterior infundibulum sperm is stored in receptacles, while in the nonglandular uterus it is stored in crypts in the UMT of vitellogenic females. Both sperm storage sites possess granules testing positive for neutral mucopolysaccharides in the presence of spermatozoa, possibly favoring the conditions for spermatozoa surveillance during sperm storage in the reproductive tract.

Keywords: nonglandular uterus; posterior infundibulum; reproduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bothrops / anatomy & histology*
  • Bothrops / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / physiology*
  • Uterus / anatomy & histology*
  • Uterus / physiology
  • Vagina / anatomy & histology*