Expected Graduation Year
College of Science
In garter snakes, including Thamnophis sirtalis and Thamnophis elegans, successful mating is dependent, in part, on the ability of males to follow scent trails left by females. This project will investigate how scent trailing behavior influences the ability of male snakes to find a female mate of the same species. Behavior studies will be conducted by presenting male snakes with scents of females of the same species, and with scents from females of a different species. We will observe which scent the males follow. Male snakes’ preference will be measured by the number of tongue flicks and seconds spent at each scent. We hypothesize that cyclic changes in hormone levels of these snakes contribute to the laying of species-specific trails by females, and the following of conspecific female trails by males.
Watson, Eleanor, "The effect of behavior and testosterone levels on mating in garter snakes" (2017). Research on Capitol Hill. Paper 58.