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20 September 2012 Species Recognition by Chemical Cues in Neotropical Snakes
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Abstract

Most snakes have the chemosensory ability to identify chemical cues from conspecifics, which is useful in many social and sexual behaviors. This has been especially well studied in European and North American snake species. In contrast, there is a general lack of knowledge on the biology and especially on the use of chemical signals by most Neotropical snake species. Here, we explored the existence of intraspecific recognition by chemical cues in several snake species from Ecuador within the families Boidae (Boa constrictor constrictor, Boa constrictor imperator, Corallus hortulanus, and Epicrates cenchria) and Colubridae (Lampropeltis triangulum micropholis) by using experiments of tongue-flicking discrimination. Results showed that individuals of all species tested showed higher chemosensory responses to odors from conspecific individuals when compared to odors from individuals of other species, suggesting intraspecific chemosensory recognition in these snake species. In contrast, there was not chemosensory recognition between the two subspecies of B. constrictor. We show that some Neotropical snake species are able to use chemical cues of conspecifics in intraspecific recognition, but further studies are needed to analyze the role of chemical signals in their biology and social behavior.

2012 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Marianne Gabirot, Pablo Picerno, Jorge Valencia, Pilar Lopez, and José Martin "Species Recognition by Chemical Cues in Neotropical Snakes," Copeia 2012(3), (20 September 2012). https://doi.org/10.1643/CE-11-150
Received: 15 October 2011; Accepted: 1 April 2012; Published: 20 September 2012
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