Patterns of Embryonic Nutrition and Characteristics of Chorioallontoic Placenta in a Viviparous Racerunner Lizard, Eremias multiocellata: a Preliminary Study

Dajiang Li, Jinlong Liu, Tianhe Zhou, Xianguang Guo


In this study we observed the embryonic development processes and compared the weight of eggs with neonates to identify the form of nutritional provisioning in Eremias multiocellata. We also used light microscopy to determine the features of chorioallontoic placenta during late stages of gestation. Neonatal dry weight was approximately 10.3% smaller than egg dry weight. Chorioallantoic membrane and uterine epithelium exhibited an indirect apposition without any fusion. No specialized region, placentome, has been found for nutrition transfer between these membranes. The chorioallontoic placenta of E. multiocellata is consistent with the simplest and most common type, Weekes type I. We infer that E. multiocellata is predominately lecithotrophic, meaning that nourishment for embryonic development is primarily supplied by the yolk. This kind of embryonic nutrition confirms the pattern found in most squamates with a simple placenta. This simple placenta adds anatomical evidence to understand the weak immune interaction between matrix and fetus in E. multiocellata. Finally, we discussed the implications for interpreting the evolution of viviparity and placentation.


Chorioallontoic placenta; Lecithotrophy; Placentotrophy; Viviparity; Eremias multiocellata

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