Parthenogenesis in a Brazilian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria cenchria)


Correspondence to: Matthew E. Kinney, Sacramento Zoo, 3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95822. E-mail:


A 22-year-old captive Brazilian rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria cenchria) gave birth to four offspring after being housed with a vasectomized male. Sexual reproduction as a result of failed prior vasectomy, recanalization of the vas deferens, or prolonged sperm storage was ruled out using the clinical history, histopathology, and gross necropsy. Short tandem repeat (STR) DNA markers were genotyped in the male, female, and four offspring. None of the offspring possessed a diagnostic STR allele present in the potential sire. In addition, all offspring were homozygous at each STR locus evaluated, supporting parthenogenetic reproduction. This is the first report of parthenogenesis in a Brazilian rainbow boa and has implications for the conservation of reptiles maintained in captive breeding programs. Zoo Biol. 32:172–176, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.