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Boa constrictors can have babies without mating

Discussion in 'The Library' started by Rich, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    In a finding that upends decades of scientific theory on reptile reproduction, researchers have discovered that female boa constrictors can squeeze out babies without mating. More strikingly, the finding shows that the babies produced from this asexual reproduction have attributes previously believed to be impossible.

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  2. SteveWD

    SteveWD Elite Member

    My thought is that maybe when she mated with the male she krpt some of his gentics and used it. i dont remember where i read it but i believe its leopard geckos that can hold on to the gentics for sometime
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    It sounds a bit fishy to me. Of all the boas that are kept and bred in captivity, this is the only one reproduces this way?
    And the fact that the snake had been previously mated and reproduced casts a bit more shadow on their claim. Its likely that the snake had retained sperm.
    So how could they be sure that there was no mating?
    In order to prove this event it would require that the snake was kept in isolation and never exposed to any males.
    Its going to take more than this to convince me.
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    From what I understand:

    It also said that the offspring had sex chromosomes that were WW (would not have been possible in offspring produced sexually)

    The offspring all had the same unnamed rare color mutation.

    Clones, in other words.
  5. SteveWD

    SteveWD Elite Member

    but as merlin said the snake was around males how can we count this as accurate? it doesnt say was color morph how do we know its not just a pastel or something alittle more common than the rare morphs.
  6. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Standard paternity tests - if the offspring don't bear the genetic material from another snake (and with WW chromosomes, they don't) then there was no other reproductive material involved.

    At least, this is my interpretation of the information, as it is presented.
  7. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    I like the idea of Woman Power in snakes! hehe
    The only way we will surely know is to wait and see what these baby girls will produce without a male presence.
  8. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    For some species of animal, just the right combination of pheromones can induce ovulation.

    If the offspring were conceived with retained sperm, they would bear the genetic signature in their genes, and they don't, assuming this is all reported correctly.

    Boas have been in captivity for decades now. I'm surprised this has not been observed earlier. It would be worth looking into the lineage of that individual, to see how recently she was obtained, and what locality (was she CB or WC?)

    Maybe there is a possibility that selective pressures in her home locale are encouraging parthenogenesis as a new means of reproduction. Might be evolution in action...

    Something to think about.
  9. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Why not, the mysteries of nature always humbles me! It happens with some species of reptiles, so why not! You go girl.
  10. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member


    For some reptiles, the temperature at which the eggs incubate can determine the gender of the offspring. I do not know if any such correlation can be applied to Boa gestation...

    If it does, then boas in the wild could be birthing clutches with a very skewed male-female ration, (resulting in a shortage of males?). Females, being the crafty creatures they are, decide to find another way to bear young...

    Of course, in captivity, it might be husbandry dependent. I'd like to know how many generations of that female's lineage have been in captivity.

    Just a stray thought. I hope my boa doesn't hear about this.
  11. missabrat

    missabrat Elite Member

    I am right there with you!! It was torturous enough while mine was gravid, I was like a mother hen LOL I cannot imagine going through that all over again...too much stress on me LOL
  12. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I don't want surprise babies.... lol.

    Not to mention, if their temperament is anything like hers, I would not feel.... right... selling them to anyone. On her best days, she is opinionated. On her worst days, she throws "tantrums" and has been known to aim for the face. The world isn't big enough for more than one of her.

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