Plethodontid salamander courtship is an elaborate yet conserved set of behaviors that involve many different sensory signals. Exocrine glands in the skin produce pheromones that facilitate courtship. These glands, known as courtship glands, are described as being sexually dimorphic, only present in males. Thus, we were surprised to discover glands in female Desmognathus brimleyorum that are histochemically and morphologically similar to male courtship glands. These glands are on the dorsal tail base and are sexually dimorphic in size; male glands are larger than those in females. Granular and mucous glands are not sexually dimorphic. The function of these glands in females is unknown, but could be involved in pheromone delivery to the male during courtship. Glands that are histochemically similar to courtship glands are present on the ventral tail surface in males and females as well. This is the first description of dorsal courtship-like glands in females and of ventral courtship-like glands in male and female D. brimleyorum.
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Vol. 73 • No. 4