The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 04. In vivo sexual discrimination in Salamandrina perspicillata: a cross-check analysis of annual changes in external cloacal morphology and spermic urine release


Open Access

pp. 17-24
Authors: Vignoli, Leonardo; Silici, Romina; Brizzi, Rossana & Bologna, Marco A.

Abstract: In Salamandrina, the lack of visible external sexual dimorphism makes the sexing of individuals difficult without sacrifice. The cloaca of Salamandrina in both males and females appears externally as a slit on an unswollen surface, a trait which is consistent throughout the year. Nonetheless, a slight divarication of its borders allows the recognition of three morphs (A, B and C), respectively characterizing male cloaca (all phases), female cloaca without protruding oviductal papillae (courtship phase) and female cloaca with prolapsed oviductal papillae (oviposition phase). Figures and schematic diagrams are provided to illustrate the differences in detail, which are all recognizable to the naked eye or by means of a hand magnifier. In addition to morphology, another reliable method of sexing salamanders is urine examination, albeit only during the courtship and post-courtship phases. Applying these methods for sex determination, we found a male-biased operational sex ratio in two populations, ranging from 6.6:1 (autumn–winter) to 14:1 (May). Males were confined to terrestrial environments, whereas females were also found in water during oviposition. Salamandrina perspicillata was active throughout the year, except during the hottest months (July–August).


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