Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 15, Issue 11, pp 2531–2538 | Cite as

Conspecific scent trailing by garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) during autumn Further evidence for use of pheromones in den location

  • Jon P. Costanzo


Adult garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis), collected in October near a traditional, communal hibernaculum in central Wisconsin, were acclimated to autumnal conditions and subjected to laboratory tests to determine whether they could follow scent trails of a conspecific. Graded responses were obtained, but 75% of the sample showed at least some inclination to follow scent trails. The results suggest that pheromone cues may be used by male and female garter snakes to locate traditional dens during autumnal migrations. Evidence from this and other studies suggests that pheromones are probably used in conjunction with other homing mechanisms and that the role of pheromones in den location may be more important in younger snakes and in populations inhabiting northern latitudes.

Key words

Pheromone scent trail chemical cue hibernation denning homing garter snake Thamnophis sirtalis Colubridae 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon P. Costanzo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyMiami UniversityOxford

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