DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1245.2014.00276

Asian Herpetological Research 2014/5:4 PP.276-280

Unhatched and Hatched Eggshells of the Chinese Cobra Naja atra

Changes in structure and composition of the eggshell resulting from embryonic mobilization of minerals from the eggshell are found in all oviparous reptiles studied thus far. In this study, we measured samples of unhatched and hatched eggshells of the Chinese cobra Naja atra to determine the percentage of ash and the phase composition of calcium carbonate. The mean percentage of ash was significantly higher in unhatched eggshells(24.6%) than in hatched eggshells(22.3%). The dominant phase in unhatched eggshells was the calcite form of calcium carbonate. In addition to the peaks of calcite, a few small peaks were found to be caused by the aragonite and vaterite phases of calcium carbonate, implying that there are small amounts of aragonite and vaterite in the eggshell. The concentration of the various phases calculated from the intensity of the X-ray diffraction spectra allowed the estimation that percentages of calcite, aragonite and vaterite were about 92%, 4% and 4%, respectively. Hatched eggshells produced similar spectral characteristics as unhatched eggshells, with one exception. The dominant phase composition in the hatched eggshell was also calcite, but the amount of the aragonite phase had a marked increase. Our study adds evidence that embryonic mobilization of minerals from the eggshell may result in changes in structure of the eggshell.

Key words:Elapidae,Naja atra,eggshell structure,egg incubation,X-ray diffraction spectra,minerals

ReleaseDate:2015-03-27 09:32:51

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