The Role of Pheromone Trails in the Sociobiology of Snakes

  • Neil B. Ford


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.


Trail Pheromone Garter Snake Tongue Flick Female Snake Timber Rattlesnake 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

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

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