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Female reproductive cycles of sympatric Arizona elegans and Crotalus viridis in New Mexico were examined. Mean adult size and potential fecundity were not significantly different in these species. In both species vitellogenesis was divided into two distinct periods. The first (Primary Vitellogenesis) occurred in follicles from microscopic size to 4-6 mm in length. Upon reaching this length the follicles appeared dormant with respect to yolk deposition. Then at a particular time of the year, depending on the species, vitellogenesis resumed (Secondary Vitellogenesis) and continued until ovulation. Two patterns of seasonal Secondary Vitellogenesis are described and all species of temperate zone snakes appear to conform to one or the other pattern. The type of Secondary Vitellogenesis appeared to correspond to phylogenetic relationships but not mode of parity, or adult size. Annual and biennial reproductive cycles are discussed.
Herpetologica © 1979 Herpetologists' League