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Annu Rev Physiol. 2009;71:161-76. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physiol.010908.163134.

Pheromone communication in amphibians and reptiles.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA.


This selective review considers herpetological papers that feature the use of chemical cues, particularly pheromones involved in reproductive interactions between potential mates. Primary examples include garter snake females that attract males, lacertid lizards and the effects of their femoral gland secretions, aquatic male newts that chemically attract females, and terrestrial salamander males that chemically persuade a female to mate. Each case study spans a number of research approaches (molecular, biochemical, behavioral) and is related to sensory processing and the physiological effects of pheromone delivery. These and related studies show that natural pheromones can be identified, validated with behavioral tests, and incorporated in research on vomeronasal functional response.

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