Chemical-Cue Preferences of Newborn Snakes: Influence of Prenatal Maternal Experience

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Science  05 Mar 1971:
Vol. 171, Issue 3974, pp. 921-923
DOI: 10.1126/science.171.3974.921


Newborn garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) responded similarly to worm and fish surface extracts regardless of whether the mothers were fed exclusively on fish or worms during the gestation period. Worm extract was the more effective. This result is in contrast with the easy modifiability of chemical-cue preferences in young snakes after birth. The initial stimulus control of the attack response in newborn snakes thus seems relatively unmodifiable.

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