Chemical Communication in Amphibians and Reptiles

  • Dale M. Madison


Chemical communication is a relatively new field of study in which contemporary interest in the form of reviews, papers, symposia, and books is disproportionately large compared to the actual number of experimental studies on the subject. But such reviews are constructive in that they provide a broad perspective of the problem areas in the field before a more restricted experimental focus begins or resumes. This review on chemical communication in amphibians and reptiles provides an evaluation of the available information, and attempts to formulate trends and ideas for future study. Although experimental indication of chemical communication in amphibians and reptiles is generally lacking, a fair number of morphological and behavioral studies exist, which collectively indicate a distinct potential for a variety of chemical systems in several amphibian and reptilian groups. The scope of this review is restricted to intraspecific interactions in the major living taxa. Omitted from consideration are feding interactions, defense secretions, and alarm substances. However, the scope remains sufficiently broad and insures a more detailed examination of the potential production, reception, and functional significance of sociochemical signals and cues. This review is best considered complementary to excellent reviews on the omitted subjects above and in related subject areas (Bellairs, 1970; Blair, 1968; Burghardt, 1970; Noble, 1931a; Parsons, 1967; Pfeiffer, 1974; Porter, 1972; Quay, 1972).


Chemical Communication Mucous Gland Scent Production Estrous Female Garter Snake 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale M. Madison
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentState University of New YorkBinghamtonUSA

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