|SREL Reprint #0903|
Odor Detection by the Male Broad-headed Skink, Eumeces laticeps;
Effects of Sex and Site of Odor Source and of Male Reproductive Condition
E. Cooper, Jr., and Laurie J. Vitt
Olfactory stimuli are sufficient for detection and
discrimination of sex of conspecific lizards by the male broad-headed skink, Eumeces
laticeps, a member of a large group of lizards with pronounced
chemosensory abilities, the Autarchoglossa.
The capacity of male broad-headed skinks to detect
conspecific odors was assessed by measuring tongue extrusion rates in response
to odor stimuli presented on moist cotton applicators.
Tongue-flick rates of postreproductive males were significantly higher
for cloacal odors of postreproductive conspecifics of both sexes than to
distilled water and higher to female than male odors over the initial 20- and
60-sec intervals. In a second
experiment using testosterone-treated males and estrogen-injected females,
testosterone-treated males emitted significantly more tongue flicks to female
cloacal odors than to the other stimuli, and two males bit applicators bearing
male odors. Testosterone did not
affect reaction to male cloacal odors, but markedly increased tongue-flick rats
in response to cloacal odors of estrogen-treated females.
Post-reproductive males also responded to female, but not male, skin
odors at a significantly higher rate than to water.
Possible sources and presumed adaptive significance of conspecific odors
SREL Reprint #0903
Cooper, W.E., Jr. and L.J. Vitt. 1984. Conspecific odor detection by the
male broad-headed skink, Eumeces laticeps: effects of sex and site of odor
source and of male reproductive condition. Journal of Experimental Zoology