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Keywords:

  • Reptilia;
  • folliculogenesis;
  • reproductive cycle;
  • vitellogenesis;
  • geographic variation

ABSTRACT

The annual histological changes in ovarian morphology (oogenesis, follicular atresia, and corpus luteum) are described for the Mexican lizard Sceloporus grammicus, in two populations that inhabit contrasting environments (vegetation categories, climate, precipitation, and temperature) from Hidalgo State, Mexico. Two germinal beds were situated on the dorsal surface of each ovary of this species. In both the populations, oogenesis involves two major processes: previtellogenesis and vitellogenesis. The histological changes during previtellogenesis are similar to those for other reptilian sauropsids, whereas vitellogenesis differs and the features of this last process are described for the first time. In early previtellogenesis, primary oocytes have fibrillar chromosomes and the ooplasm stains slightly. The primordial follicles are surrounded by a granulosa composed of cuboidal follicular cells. During late previtellogenesis, the oocyte had an eccentric nucleus with lamp-brush chromosomes and multiple nucleoli. The granulosa becomes multilayered and polymorphic, containing three cell types: small, intermediate, and pyriform. The zona pellucida was homogeneous and clearly observed. In early vitellogenesis, the oocyte showed several small acidophilic granules distributed in the center and the periphery of the oocyte. As vitellogenesis progresses, the yolk platelets move toward the central area of the oocyte and they fuse to form acidophilic and homogeneous yolk. Lipid droplets were distributed irregularly in the ooplasm of the oocyte. In Zacualtipán, the results revealed a strong seasonal reproductive activity. Females had vitellogenic follicles from July to September, and pregnant females were founded from September to March. In Tizayuca, the results showed an unusual pattern of reproductive activity. Females with vitellogenic follicles and pregnant females were found throughout the year, indicating continuous reproduction. We suggest that the observed differences in reproductive activity from these populations indicate adaptative fine tuning in response to local environmental conditions. These results contribute to the knowledge of variation in vitellogenesis and reproductive strategies of this species and among spiny lizards overall. J. Morphol. 275:949–960, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.