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We report seasonal variation in steroid hormone levels in blood samples from free-ranging Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox), and the relationship between these hormones and events in the reproductive cycle. At a field site in the Sonoran Desert of south-central Arizona, we collected monthly blood samples over the course of two active(More)
Numerous factors impact the dynamics of host-parasite relationships, such as host sex, hormonal state, reproductive condition, host health, and behavior. In particular, males from a variety of taxa frequently carry heavier parasite burdens than females, particularly during breeding season when testosterone concentrations are elevated. Using western fence(More)
The hippocampus of birds and mammals plays a crucial role in spatial memory and navigation. The hippocampus exhibits plasticity in adulthood in response to diverse environmental factors associated with spatial demands placed on an animal. The medial and dorsal cortices of the telencephalon of squamate reptiles have been implicated as functional homologues(More)
We describe the reproductive cycle of Northern Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) by quantifying steroid hormone concentrations and observing reproductive behaviors in free-ranging individuals. Additionally, we examined reproductive tissues from museum specimens. Plasma steroid hormone concentrations were quantified for both male and female snakes(More)
We conducted an experiment to examine the effects of sex and food intake on growth, mass gain, and attainment of sexual maturity in Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox). We also measured testosterone levels to determine whether testosterone might be involved in the male-biased sexual size dimorphism observed in this species. We collected(More)
Recent field studies on the reproductive ecology of western diamond-backed rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox) from populations in southern Arizona showed significant differences in the concentration of plasma sex steroids (testosterone, T; 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone, DHT; and 17beta-estradiol, E2) throughout the active season (March-October), and peak levels(More)
Sexual dimorphism in size (sexual size dimorphism; SSD) is nearly ubiquitous, but the relative importance of genetic versus environmental control of SSD is not known for most species. We investigated proximate determinants of SSD in several species of squamate reptiles, including three species of Sceloporus lizards and the diamond-backed rattlesnake(More)
Food availability is an important factor in the life histories of organisms because it is often limiting and thus can affect growth, mass change, reproduction, and behaviors such as thermoregulation, locomotion, and mating. Experimental studies in natural settings allow researchers to examine the effects of food on these parameters while animals are free to(More)
Parasitism is one of the most notable forms of symbiosis in the biological world, with nearly all organisms hosting parasites. In many vertebrates, males have higher ectoparasite burdens than females, especially when testosterone concentrations are elevated. Furthermore, reproductive females may have higher ectoparasite burdens than non-reproductive(More)
—Seasonal variability in intensities of ectoparasites of western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) was quantified in spring, summer, and autumn 2008. Lizards were suspended over pans of water in the laboratory to enumerate replete western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) and mites. Intensity of ectoparasites was greatest in spring. On average,(More)