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Over a 2-yr period, we investigated the annual cycles of plasma testosterone and corticosterone and the relationships between these hormones and body condition in a wild population of male red-spotted garter snakes, Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus. In the 10 mo that were sampled, a peak in testosterone was observed in late summer during gametogenesis and(More)
Stress and reproduction are generally thought to work in opposition to one another. This is often manifested as reciprocal relationships between glucocorticoid stress hormones and sex steroid hormones. However, seasonal differences in how animals respond to stressors have been described in extreme environments. We tested the hypothesis that garter snakes,(More)
Stress and glucocorticoids are generally thought to suppress reproductive function at multiple levels. We tested the hypotheses that exogenous corticosterone would suppress sexual behavior in a dose-dependent manner, as well as drive a decrease in plasma testosterone levels in the male red-sided garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis. We examined this(More)
Garter snakes exhibit a dissociated reproductive tactic in which gonadal activity is minimal at the time of mating, increasing only after the breeding season has ended. Experiments are presented demonstrating that neither short-term nor longterm castration affects courtship behavior in adult male red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis). So(More)
In many diverse taxa, males of the same species often exhibit multiple mating strategies. One well-documented alternative male reproductive pattern is 'female mimicry', whereby males assume a female-like morphology or mimic female behaviour patterns. In some species males mimic both female morphology and behaviour. We report here female mimicry in a(More)
The red-sided garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis is an ideal model for the study of chemical or pheromonal communication in vertebrates. Results of long-term field and laboratory investigations of the chemical ecology of these unusual animals is summarized. These studies include a description of the characterization of the female attractiveness(More)
The role of pheromones in orchestrating social behaviors in reptiles is reviewed. Although all reptile orders are examined, the vast majority of the literature has dealt only with squamates, primarily snakes and lizards. The literature is surprisingly large, but most studies have explored relatively few behaviors. The evolution of chemical signaling in(More)
The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is important for activating accessory olfactory pathways that are involved in sexually dimorphic mating behavior. The VNO of male garter snakes is critically important for detection of, and response to, female sex pheromones. In the present study, under voltage-clamp conditions, male snake VNO neurons were stimulated with female(More)
Male red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) court only on emergence from winter dormancy. The salient proximate factor responsible for the initiation of courtship behavior appears to be warm ambient temperatures subsequent to sustained exposure to cold temperatures. In the present study, autumn-captured garter snakes were pinealectomized(More)
Introduced species are an increasingly pervasive problem. While studies on the ecology and behavior of these pests are numerous, there is relatively little known of their physiology, specifically their reproductive and stress physiology. One of the best documented introduced pest species is the brown tree snake, Boiga irregularis, which was introduced onto(More)