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Annual monitoring of oscillations in plasma testosterone levels and fecal androgens in captive males of Golden Lancehead (Bothrops insularis)

Grant number: 14/07612-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2014
Effective date (End): November 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Selma Maria de Almeida Santos
Grantee:Ingrid Vera Stein
Home Institution: Instituto Butantan. Secretaria da Saúde (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The Golden Lancehead (Bothrops insularis) is an endemic snake of the island of Queimada Grande, Southern coast of São Paulo, and is considered an endangered species. The development of ex situ breeding programs aimed at increasing the numbers of individuals, as well as preservation of their natural habitat are necessary to prevent the decline of this fragile population. Nevertheless, the successful reproductive management of this snake in captivity, either by natural mating or artificial means, depends on detailed knowledge of reproductive endocrinology, and in particular the fluctuations of sex steroids. However, conventional techniques for monitoring hormone in reptiles are generally unworkable (because of stress or size of the animal) and, for this reason, some researchers have turned their attention to use of measurements of fecal steroid metabolites. The objective of this study is to determine the annual androgenic variations in eight captive males of Bothrops insularis by measurement of fecal metabolites androgens and concurrently compare these values with plasma testosterone levels. The results obtained here will bring not only information of reproductive physiology of this viperid, as well as provide a non-invasive alternative to hormonal monitoring of snakes. (AU)