Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 213–219 | Cite as

Volatile components in scent gland secretions of garter snakes (Thamnophis spp.)

  • William F. Wood
  • Joshua M. Parker
  • Paul J. Weldon


Previous analyses of the scent gland secretions of snakes have focused on the nonvolatile components. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry of secretions from North American garter snakes (Thamnophis butleri, T. couchi, T. elegans, T. melanogaster, andT. sirtalis) indicated the following seven major volatile components: acetic, propanoic, 2-methylpropanoic, butanoic, and 3-methylbutanoic acids, trimethylamine, and 2-piperidone. Five or more of these compounds were observed in secretions of select boid, colubrid, pythonid, and viperid snakes, suggesting that they are widespread scent gland products. 3-Methylbutanal also was detected in some snake species.

Key Words

Garter snakes Thamnophis 2-piperidone trimethylamine short-chain carboxylic acids 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • William F. Wood
    • 1
  • Joshua M. Parker
    • 1
  • Paul J. Weldon
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryHumboldt State UniversityArcata
  2. 2.Department of BiologyTexas A & M UniversityCollege Station
  3. 3.Conservation and Research CenterSmithsonian InstitutionFront Royal

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