• cross-species amplification;
  • Crotalinae;
  • Crotalus;
  • genetic loci;
  • Lachesis muta;
  • population management;
  • Sistrurus


We used 10 microsatellite DNA markers originally described for two Crotalus and one Sistrurus species to infer paternity in a captive-hatched clutch of Lachesis muta. Although the dam was known, records listed two potential sires, which prevented the inclusion of those offspring in a captive breeding program. Samples were collected from both possible sires, the presumed dam and two offspring. Five of the ten markers were paternity informative and either unambiguously identified one of the two males as the sire of the offspring or excluded the other male. A sixth marker identified the sire in one of the two offspring. These results reveal rattlesnake DNA markers as a useful tool in paternity testing and captive breeding management of Lachesis muta. It also indicates that, within the American crotalid radiation, a selection of microsatellite DNA markers cross-amplify and provide useful genotypic information across species and genera. Zoo Biol. 32:454–456, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals Inc.