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Stress and reproduction in Boiga irregularis with notes on the ultrastructure of the sexual segment of the kidney in squamates

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The reproductive tract of wild-caught male Boiga irregularis (Merrem, 1802) (Brown Treesnake) and the changes that result in these tissues from captivity are described. Wild-caught snakes were compared with snakes kept in captivity and sacrificed at approximately 10, 30, 50, and 60+ days. Snakes sacrificed after 10 days in captivity showed no differences in histological appearance or epithelial height in either the testis or sexual segment of the kidney (SSK) compared with wild snakes. Normal spermatogenic stages and SSK ultrastructure were observed in the testes and kidney from wild specimens and captive specimens after 10 days. In terms of the SSK, large electron-dense secretory vacuoles occupied the apices of the epithelial cells, while a basal nucleus, rough endoplasmic reticulum, and Golgi bodies filled the bases of these cells. All SSK cells were actively secretory in a mode that could most accurately be termed apocrine. At time of secretion, released vacuoles become diffuse and the apical membrane ruptures, spilling the SSK contents into the distal nephron lumen. Between 10 and 30 days in captivity, spermatogenesis and secretion in the SSK ceased and the epithelial height of both tissues decreased. At approximately 60 days, testicular epithelial height increased and spermatogenic activity was reestablished. The SSK, however, remained regressed at 60 days.

Nous décrivons les changements histologiques dans l’appareil reproducteur de mâles de Boiga irregularis (Merrem, 1802) (le serpent arboricole brun) capturés en nature et les modifications qui se produisent dans ces tissus à cause de la captivité. Nous comparons des serpents capturés en nature à des serpents gardés en captivité et sacrifiés environ aux jours 10, 30, 50 et 60+. Les serpents sacrifiés après 10 jours en captivité ne montrent aucune différence ni dans l’apparence histologique, ni dans la hauteur de l’épithélium, dans ni le testicule, ni le segment sexuel du rein (SSK) par rapport à des serpents sauvages. Les stades normaux de la spermatogenèse et l’ultrastructure normale du SSK s’observent dans le testicule et le rein chez les individus sauvages et captifs après 10 jours. Dans le cas du SSK, de larges vacuoles sécrétrices opaques aux électrons occupent les apex des cellules épithéliales, alors qu’un noyau basal, un réticulum endoplasmique granulaire et des appareils de Golgi remplissent la base de ces cellules. Toutes les cellules du SSK sont sécrétrices selon un mode que l’on définirait de la manière la plus précise comme apocrine. Au moment de la libération de la sécrétion, les vacuoles deviennent diffuses et la membrane apicale se rompt, versant le contenu du SSK dans la lumière du néphron distal. Entre les jours 10 et 30 de la captivité, la spermatogenèse et la sécrétion du SSK cessent et la hauteur de l’épithélium des deux tissus diminue. À environ 60 jours, la hauteur de l’épithélium testiculaire augmente et la spermatogenèse recommence. Le SSK, cependant, demeure en régression après 60 jours.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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