Research on Capitol Hill

Presenter and Co-Presenter(s)

Eleanor Watson, Utah State UniversityFollow

Expected Graduation Year



College of Science


Biology Department

Faculty Mentor

Susannah French


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.

Document Type


Publication Date




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.