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Patterns of Tongue-Flicking by Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) during Presentation of Chemicals under Varying Conditions

  • Takisha G. Schulterbrandt
  • John Kubie
  • Hans von Gizycki
  • Ido Zuri
  • Mimi Halpern

Tongue-flicking is a sensory-gathering behavior used by snakes to deliver odorants to the vomeronasal organ. In the present study we provide a detailed description of environmental control and motor patterns of tongue-flicking in garter snakes, Thamnophis sirtalis. Tongue-flicks were monitored during prey extract trailing, foraging, delivery of air-borne odors and in an open field. Tongue-flick rates increased during airborne odor delivery and as a function of prey extract concentration during trailing, as previously reported. Motivation and prey consumption appeared to modify tongue-flick patterns since 1. tongue-flick rates were higher under foraging conditions than in an open field where no prior prey consumption had occurred and no prey odors were present; and 2. tongue-flick rates were elevated after prey consumption. The number of oscillations and the duration of tongue extensions were significantly reduced following tongue-substrate touches, suggesting that tongue contact with the substrate is the immediate stimulus for tongue retraction.

Keywords

Prey Consumption Vomeronasal Organ Garter Snake Amyl Acetate Odor Exposure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Abstract

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media,LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takisha G. Schulterbrandt
    • 1
  • John Kubie
  • Hans von Gizycki
  • Ido Zuri
  • Mimi Halpern
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologySUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA

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