Multiple Paternity in the Endangered Amur Ratsnake (Elaphe schrenckii)

Hanna Cho, Jaejin Park, Woojin Choi, Richard P. J. H. Struijk, Daesik Park


We determined the occurrence of multiple paternity and minimum number of fathers in eight clutches of the endangered E. schrenckii in South Korea using offspring obtained from a captive breeding program between 2014 and 2016. By examining five microsatellite loci and comparing the result with the characteristics of mother, egg and offspring we found that seven clutches out of eight (87.5%) showed multiple paternity with mean number of minimum fathers per clutch as 2.3 based on the alleles of fathers, which confirmed sire of offspring. The degree of multiple paternity was negatively correlated with the infertility rate of eggs, but not with any aspects of offspring, suggesting that multiple mating functions to assure the fertilization of eggs. Based on this result, we recommend that each female in the breeding program should be allowed to mate with more than three different males to keep appropriate levels of genetic variability in offspring.


Reptilia; multiple paternity; Amur ratsnake; captive breeding; endangered species; conservation

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