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 sexual attractiveness pheromone. The amplitude of the inward current was dose dependent, and the relationship could be fitted by the Hill equation. Under current-clamp conditions, application of pheromone produced membrane depolarizing responses and increases in firing frequency. These results suggest that the female pheromone directly affects male snake VNO neurons and results in opening of ion channels, thereby converting the pheromone signal to an electrical signal. The response to female pheromone is sexually dimorphic, that is, the pheromone does not evoke responses in VNO neurons of female snakes. An associated finding of the present study is that the female sex pheromone, which is insoluble in aqueous solutions, became soluble in the presence of Harderian gland homogenate. The vomeronasal organ VNO of vertebrates is a chemoreceptive organ that has been implicated in the detection of, and response to, sex pheromones Halpern, ; Wysocki and Meredith, ; Meredith, ; Keverne, ; Johnston, ; McClintock, ; Halpern and Martinez-Marcos, One of the few vertebrate pheromones that has been isolated, purified, and characterized is the sex pheromone of the red-sided garter snake Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis Mason et al.
In life there are some big questions that we are longing for an answer to, and today we answer one of the biggest — how do snakes mate? When a female snake is ready to mate she releases a special scent or pheromone from skin glands on her back. The male snake who is ready to mate may catch the scent and follow the trail until he finds the female. Typical flirting then ensues once he locks eyes on the female snake — he will court the female by bumping his chin on the back of her head and crawling over her. The mating begins as the male wraps his tail around hers to meet at the cloaca, which is the exit point for waste and reproductive fluid. If there is a large group of male snakes fighting for a female they will not fight each other or mark territory, but they will all at the same time try to crawl on top of the female and wrap around her. A cloaca in animal anatomy is an opening in the posterior for opening of the digestive, reproductive and urinary tracts where they excrete fluid and faeces. When male snakes are not mating the hemipenis more to come on that later is inverted and rests in the cloaca. The hemipenis of the male snake folds in on itself, pulling into the cloaca and the tail by a retractor muscle. The first snake to successfully wrap his tail around the female and meet at the right point for intercourse to occur gets to mate.
View research View latest news Sign up for updates. A Nature Research Journal. Madsen, T. Nature , — Darwin, C. Trivers, R. Campbell, B. Bateman, A. Heredity 2 , — Parker, G. Competition in Insects eds Blum, M. Walker, W. B , Baker, R. Gage, M. Download references. Reprints and Permissions. Snakes and female sexuality. Download citation.
Issue Date : 30 January Marine Biodiversity Evolution Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Advanced search. Skip to main content. Download PDF. References 1 Madsen, T. Google Scholar 3 Trivers, R. Google Scholar 4 Bateman, A. Google Scholar 6 Walker, W. Article Google Scholar 7 Parker, G. Article Google Scholar 8 Parker, G. Article Google Scholar 10 Gage, M.
Article Google Scholar Download references. Parker Authors G. Parker View author publications. You can also search for this author in PubMed Google Scholar. Rights and permissions Reprints and Permissions. About this article Cite this article Parker, G. Collet , R. Dean , K.
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