Multiple paternity in the western terrestrial garter snake, Thamnophis elegans

Garner, Trenton W. J.; Larsen, Karl W.
May 2005
Canadian Journal of Zoology;May2005, Vol. 83 Issue 5, p656
Academic Journal
Multiple paternity may be a widespread phenomenon in snakes, but studies to date are inadequate for assessing the effect that phylogeny may have on paternity. Hypothetical mechanisms responsible for polyandry in snakes include intersexual conflicts and avoidance of genetic incompatibilities due to inbreeding. We analysed the offspring of six litters of western terrestrial garter snakes (Thamnophis elegans (Baird and Girard, 1853)) using microsatellite DNA polymorphisms. We directly detected multiple paternity in half of the litters, one of which exhibited triple paternity, and substantial skew of paternal contributions in all multiply sired litters. Females producing multiply sired offspring were heavier postpartum and produced larger litters, suggesting that larger females that invest more in reproduction are more likely to be multiply mated, a result supporting the hypothesis that polyandry is due to intersexual conflict. Continued investigations of paternity patterns within this genus are under way, but if the factors driving polyandry in snakes are to be identified, controlled laboratory crosses are required.


Related Articles

  • Serpent Surprise. Wiley, Jr., John P. // Smithsonian;Apr2001, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p92 

    Focuses on the behavior of garter snakes. Large dens in which the snakes live which may house up to 25,000 snakes; Mating behavior of the snakes; Questions about how the snakes use pheromones.

  • Evidence for Selection on Thermoregulation: Effects of Temperature on Embryo Mortality in the Garter Snake Thamnophis elegans. O'Donnell, Ryan P.; Arnold, Stevan J. // Copeia;2005, Vol. 2005 Issue 4, p930 

    Despite widespread belief that selection molds thermoregulatory behaviors, direct evidence for fitness effects is extremely rare. We studied the effect of developmental temperature on embryo mortality in a viviparous snake. Seventy-four female Thamnophis elegans were maintained at one of nine...

  • Multiple paternity and offspring quality in tree swallows. Dunn, Peter; Lifjeld, Jan; Whittingham, Linda // Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology;Apr2009, Vol. 63 Issue 6, p911 

    There is mounting evidence in a variety of taxa that females increase offspring quality by mating with multiple males, often resulting in multiple paternity. In birds, however, few studies have explicitly examined the benefits of mating with several different males; instead, the focus has been...

  • DIET AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR OF THE TERRESTRIAL GARTERSNAKE (THAMNOPHIS ELEGANS) ALONG A STREAM WITHIN THE SHRUB-STEPPE OF CENTRAL WASHINGTON STATE. Weaver, Robert E.; Bauer, Blake A.; Weaver, Kendra S.; McEwen, Daniel C.; Clark, William H. // Northwestern Naturalist;Winter2010, Vol. 91 Issue 3, p309 

    We investigated the diet and foraging behavior of a putative generalist predator, the Terrestrial Gartersnake, (Them nophis elegans) along a stream in central Washington State, USA. Snakes were collected, with the sex, mass, and snout-vent length (SVL) of each recorded. Snakes were categorized...

  • Sexual conflict over sperm ejection in monogamous pairs of kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla. Helfenstein, Fabrice; Wagner, Richard H.; Danchin, Etienne // Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology;Sep2003, Vol. 54 Issue 4, p370 

    Socially monogamous partners suffer conflicting interests concerning various aspects of reproduction such as parental care, copulation and fertilization. Female black-legged kittiwakes commonly eject their mates' sperm immediately following copulations. Because sperm ejection reduces male sperm...

  • BEHAVIORAL PATERNITY PREDICTS GENETIC PATERNITY IN SATIN BOWERBIRDS (PTILONORHYNCHUS VIOLACEUS), A SPECIES WITH A NON-RESOURCE-BASED MATING SYSTEM. Reynolds, Sheila M.; Dryer, Katie; Bollback, Jonathan; Uy, J. Albert C.; Patricelli, Gail L.; Robson, Timothy; Borgia, Gerald; Braun, Michael J. // Auk (American Ornithologists Union);Jul2007, Vol. 124 Issue 3, p857 

    The potential for differences between genetic paternity and paternity inferred from behavioral observation has long been recognized. These differences are associated with the challenge for females of seeking both genetic and material benefits; this challenge is less severe in species with...

  • Treat ’em Mean, Keep ’em (sometimes) Keen: Evolution of Female Preferences for Dominant and Coercive Males. Hanna Kokko // Evolutionary Ecology;Mar2005, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p123 

    Abstract How should females choose their mates if choice is not completely free, but at least partly dictated by outcomes of male–male competition, or sexual coercion? This question is of central importance when evaluating the relationship between sexually antagonistic...

  • Female choice in a promiscuous wild guinea pig, the yellow-toothed cavy (Galea musteloides). Hohoff, Christa; Franzen, Kerstin; Sachser, Norbert // Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology;May2003, Vol. 53 Issue 6, p341 

    Promiscuity is traditionally considered to increase only male reproductive success but, more recently, female benefits are also assumed to be the driving force for promiscuous mating. The yellow-toothed cavy (Galea musteloides) is characterised by an extremely high degree of multiple paternity...

  • Genetic similarity, extrapair paternity, and offspring quality in Savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis). Corey R. Freeman-Gallant; Nathaniel T. Wheelwright; Katherine E. Meiklejohn; Suzanne V. Sollecito // Behavioral Ecology;Nov2006, Vol. 17 Issue 6, p952 

    The occurrence of extrapair paternity (EPP) in birds is often attributed to the action of good-genes sexual selection whereby females “trade up” on male genetic quality by allocating fertilizations to males with better genes than those possessed by their social mate. To date, most...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics