Advertisement

The Role of Pheromone Trails in the Sociobiology of Snakes

  • Neil B. Ford

Abstract

In his review of reptilian social systems, Brattstrom (1974) stated that “nobody has, in my opinion, designed the appropriate experiments to study social behavior in snakes properly.” In the subsequent decade, studies of snake behavior have proliferated, but Brattstrom’s comments regarding studies of snake sociobiology are essentially still true. Most reports remain observational accounts and descriptions of ritualistic behaviors involved in reproductive and agonistic encounters (reviewed by Carpenter, 1977; Carpenter and Ferguson, 1977). Very few biologists have attempted to experimentally examine the sociobiological functions of such displays. However, for a good example, see Gillingham et al.’s (1983) test of courtship activity of male diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox), after combat dances.

Keywords

Trail Pheromone Garter Snake Tongue Flick Female Snake Timber Rattlesnake 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Andren, C., 1982, The role of the vomeronasal organ in the reproductive behavior of the adder, Vipera berus, Copeia, 1982: 148.Google Scholar
  2. Bast, R. E., and Gibson, A. R., 1985, Characterization of reptilian vitellogenin: Subunit composition and molecular weights of vitellogenin from the colubrid snake Thamnophis sirtalis (L.), Comp. Biochem. Physiol., 80 (B): 409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumann, F ., 1929, Experimente Uber den Geruchssinn und den Beuteerwerb der Viper ( Vipera aspis L. ), Z. Vergl. Physiol., 10: 61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bishop, SC ., 1927, The amphibians and reptiles of Alleghany State Park, Bull. N.Y. St. Mus., 3: 1.Google Scholar
  5. Branson, BA., and Baker, EC., 1974, An ecological study of the queen snake, Regina septemvittata ( Say) in Kentucky, Tul. Stud. Zool Bot., 18: 153.Google Scholar
  6. Brattstrom, BH ., 1974, The evolution of reptilian social behavior, Am. Zool., 14: 35.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, WS., and MacLean, FM., 1983, Conspecific scent-trailing by newborn timber rattlesnakes, Crotalus horridus, Herpetologica, 39: 430.Google Scholar
  8. Burghardt, G. M., 1980, Behavioral and stimulus correlates of vomeronasal functioning in reptiles: Feeding, grouping, sex and tongue use, in: Chemical Signals in Vertebrates and Aquatic Invertebrates,11 D. Muller-Schwarze, and R. M. Silverstein, eds., Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Burghardt, G. M., 1983, Aggregation and species discrimination in newborn snakes, Z. Tierpsychol., 61: 89.Google Scholar
  10. Carpenter, CC ., 1952, Comarative ecology of the common garter snake (Thamnophis js. sirtalis), the ribbon snake (Thamnophis js. sauritus), and Butler’s garter snake ( Thamnophis butleri) in mixed populations, Ecol. Monogr., 22: 235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carpenter, CC ., 1977, Communication and displays in snakes, Am. Zool., 17: 217.Google Scholar
  12. Carpenter, C. C., and Ferguson, G. W., 1977, Variation and evolution of stereotyped behavior in reptiles, in: “Biology of the Reptilia, 7” C. Gans, and D. Tinkle, eds., Acad. Press, London.Google Scholar
  13. Clark, D ., 1974, The western ribbon snake (Thamnophis proximus): Ecology of a Texas population, Herpetologica, 30: 372Google Scholar
  14. Chiszar, D., Radcliffe, C. W., Scudder, K. M., and Duvall, D., 1983, Strike-induced chemosensory searching by rattlesnakes: The role of envenomation-related chemical cues in the post-strike environment, in: Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 3, D.Google Scholar
  15. Muller-Schwarze, and R. Silverstein, eds., Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Conant, R., Thomas, E. S., and Rausch, R. L., 1945, The plains garter snake, Thamnophis radix, in Ohio, Copeia, 1945: 61.Google Scholar
  17. Cowles, R. B., and Phelan, R. L., 1958, Olfaction in Rattlesnakes, Copeia, 1958: 77.Google Scholar
  18. Davis DD ., 1936, Courtship and mating behavior in snakes, Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. Ser., 20: 256Google Scholar
  19. Devine, M. C., 1977, Chemistry and Source of Sex-attractant Pheromones and Their Role in Mate Discrimination by Garter Snakes, Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. Michigan, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  20. Dundee, HA., and Miller, MC., 1968, Aggregative behavior and habitat conditioning by the prairie ringneck snake, Diadophis punctatus arnyi, Tul. Stud. Zool Bot., 15: 41.Google Scholar
  21. Duvall, D., King, MB., and Gutzwiler, KJ., 1985, Behavioral ecology and ethology of the prairie rattlesnake, Nat. Geog. Res., 1: 80Google Scholar
  22. Finneran, L. C., 1949, A sexual aggregation of the garter snake, Thamnophis butleri ( Cope ), Copeia, 1949: 141.Google Scholar
  23. FitzSimons, F. W., 1932, “Snakes” Hutchison, London.Google Scholar
  24. Ford, NB ., 1978, Evidence for species specificity of pheromone trails in two sympatric garter snakes, Thamnophis, Herpetol. Rev., 9: 10.Google Scholar
  25. Ford, N. B., 1979, Aspects of Pheromone Trailing in Garter Snakes (Thamnophis), Ph.D. Dissertation, Miami Univ. Ohio.Google Scholar
  26. Ford, NB ., 1981, Seasonality of pheromone trailing behavior in two species of garter snake, Thamnophis ( Colubridae ), Southwest. Nat. 264: 385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ford, N. B., 1982, Species specificity of sex pheromone trails of sympatric and allopatric garter snakes ( Thamnophis ), Copeia, 1982: 10.Google Scholar
  28. Ford, NB., and Low, JR., 1984, Sex pheromone source location by garter snakes: A mechanism for detection of direction in nonvolatile trails, J. Chem. Ecol., 10: 1193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ford, NB., and Schofield, CW., 1984, Species specificity of sex pheromone trails in the plains garter snake, Thamnophis radix, Herpetologica 40: 51.Google Scholar
  30. Fraenkel, G. S., and Gunn, D. L., 1940, “The Orientation of Animals” Dover Publ., New York.Google Scholar
  31. Gardner, J. B., 1955, A ball of gartersnakes, Copeia, 1955: 310.Google Scholar
  32. Garstka, W. R., and Crews, D., 1981, Female sex pheromone in the skin and circulation of a garter snake, Science, 214: 681.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gehlbach, F. R., Watkins, J. F., and Kroll, J. C., 1971, Pheromone trail-following studies of typhlopid, leptotyphlopid, and colubrid snakes, Behaviour, 40: 282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gillingham, JC., Carpenter, CC., and Murphy, JB., 1983, Courtship, male combat and dominance in the western diamondback rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox, J. Herpetol., 17: 265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gregory, P. T., 1975, Aggregations of gravid snakes in Manitoba, Canada, Copeia 1975: 185.Google Scholar
  36. Halpern, M., and Kubie, J., 1983, Snake tongue flicking behavior: Clues to vomeronasal system functions, in: “Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 3” D. Muller-Schwarze, and R. Silverstein, eds., Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  37. Heller, S., and Halpern, M., 1981, Laboratory observations on conspecific and congeneric scent trailing in garter snakes ( Thamnophis ), Behav. Neur. Biol., 33: 372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Henderson, RW., Binder, MH., Sajdak, RA, and Buday, JA., 1980, Aggregating behavior and exploitation of subterranean habitat by gravid easter milksnakes (Lampropeltis _t. triangulum ), Milw. Publ. Mus. Cont. Biol. Geol., 32: 1.Google Scholar
  39. King, M., McCarron, D., Duvall, D., Baxter, G., and Gern, W., 1983, Group avoidance of conspecific but not interspecific chemical cues by prairie rattlesnakes, Crotalus viridis, J. Herp., 17: 196.Google Scholar
  40. Klauber, L. M., 1972, “Rattlesnakes”, 2nd Ed. Univ. Calif. Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  41. Kubie,JL., and Halpern, M., 1979, The chemical senses involved in garter snake prey trailing, J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol., 93: 648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Landreth, H. F., 1973, Orientation and behavior of the rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox, Copeia 1973: 26.Google Scholar
  43. Leuthold, K ., 1968, A tibial gland scent-trail and trail-laying behavior in the ant ( Crematogaster ashmeadi Mayr ), Psyche, 75: 223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Madison, D. M., 1977, Chemical communication in amphibians and reptiles, in: “Chemical Signals in Vertebrates,” D. Muller-Schwarze, and M. Mozell, eds., Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  45. Munro, D. R., 1948, Mating behavior and seasonal cloacal discharge of a female Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis, Herpetologica 4: 185.Google Scholar
  46. Noble, G. K ., 1937, The sense organs involved in the courtship of Storeria, Thamnophis and other snakes, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 73: 673Google Scholar
  47. Noble, GK., and Clausen, HJ., 1936, The aggregation behavior of Storeria dekayi and other snakes with a special reference to the sense organs involved, Ecol. Monogr., 6: 269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Parker, W. S., and Brown, W. S., 1980, Comparative ecology of two colubrid snakes, Masticophis t. taeniatus and Pituophis melanoleucus deserti- cola, in northern Utah, Milw. Publ. Mus. Pub. Biol. Geol., 7.Google Scholar
  49. Price, A. H., and LaPointe, J. L., 1981, Structure-functional aspects of the scent gland in Lampropeltis getulus splendida, Copeia, 1981: 138.Google Scholar
  50. Rossman, D. A., 1985, Liodytes resurrected, reexamined, and reinterred, J. Herp., 19: 169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ruthven, A. G., 1908, Variations and genetic relationships of the garter snakes, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 61.Google Scholar
  52. Schmidt, K. P., 1938, Herpetological evidence for the post-glacial eastward extension of the steppe in North America, Ecology, 19: 396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shine, R ., 1979, Activity patterns in Australian elapid snakes (Squamata: Serpentes: Elapidae ), Herpetologica, 35: 1.Google Scholar
  54. Sokal, R. R., and Rohlf, F. J., 1969, “Biometry” W. H. Freeman, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  55. Templeton, A. R ., 1981, Mechanisms of speciation a population genetic approach, Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 12: 23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Truitt, R. V., 1927, Notes on the mating of snakes, Copeia, 1927:21.Google Scholar
  57. 55.
    Wright, A. H., and Wright, A. A., 1957, “Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada,” Comstock Pubi. Assoc., New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil B. Ford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe University of Texas at TylerTylerUSA

Personalised recommendations