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  1. #1
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    Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    Taken from a Mason Lab (Oregon State University) web page is this:

    "The red-sided garter snake shows strong patterns of seasonality, which are reflected in their behavior and circulating levels of sex and stress hormones. This species serves as a model dissociated breeder, meaning that their maximal mating behavior is uncoupled from gametogenesis and maximal sex steroid production".

    I know of some people who dissociate when they have a sexual interest, but any season will do. Most of them end up thrice divorced with thousands of dollars of child support per month They are only capable of logical thinking AFTER the damage is done. Once they have a new sexual interest, the logic and what they have learned goes right out the window, but I digress.

    Also taken from the web page:

    "We have recently discovered that the Harderian gland (HG), the largest cephalic gland in garter snakes, plays a critical role in the transfer of chemical signals (female pheromones, feeding cues) to the chemosensory epithelium of the vomeronasal organ (VNO). Male garter snakes who have had their HGs removed fail to court females and exhibit no response to female pheromone."

    Sexual behavior and appetite? Sounds like some backwards methamphetamine affect. While mammilian brains respond to the release of certain hormones that drive mood and behavior (such as dopamine, seretonin, norepinephrine) apparently, in garter snakes, sexually attracting hormones do no work without a "middle man" (Harderian gland) to pass on the message to the receiver (vomeronasal organ)

    Facinating. You can effectively render a male garter snake asexual (not sexually attracted to any other snake of any sex) by taking out a tiny gland in their head!

    It's like I was saying about brumating. Some garters must go through it in order to attract or be attracted. This doesn't mean they aren't capable of reproduction, but without attraction, however brief it may be, reproduction isn't going to happen without artificial laboratory interference. Perhaps this research and subject matter might apply to the issue of the occasional concinnus eating concinnus? Perhaps captive selective breeding alters more than what we can see with the naked eye?

    I think it's very important to keep records. If possible, tracing entire linage from sire and dam, all the way back to the wild,(exact location of each parent) and taking note of EVERYTHING when it comes to feeding, breeding, etc. Even if the record reveals a fracture or two of the law, it could help researchers and garter snake breeders in the future. I've been saying it all along, if you're going to pay top dollar for a snake, shouldn't we have a system of linage like dogs do?

    Fascinating stuff. I'm going to email some of the researchers and see if they can't reveal a bit more about their findings.

    http://masonlab.science.oregonstate.edu/

  2. #2
    Forum Moderator Stefan-A's Avatar
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    Re: Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    Quote Originally Posted by ConcinnusMan View Post
    Perhaps captive selective breeding alters more than what we can see with the naked eye?
    That's almost guaranteed. Interestingly, the opposite may be true for dogs, which were most likely bred for behavior, with (initially) unintended consequences in regards to their appearance. Just a side note.

  3. #3
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    Re: Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    True, true for "utility" breeds. Then later, they shifted gears for many breeds, favoring "cuteness" and small size for companionship. Somehow that resulted in me ending up with 4 pomeranians that are cute as you can stand, but they rule the house. They are only obey if it suits them at the time, or if I bribe them. And believe me, they understand enough to know a bribe when they hear me tell them my proposition in plain english. Hmm... sounds like they made them a bit too human.

    Back on topic, what common person would have ever guessed that in spite of having sperm production, all the hormones, etc.. that taking out one little organ could break the chain of sexual desire for male snakes? Without that little organ, the chemical signal from the female never has a chance to make it to the brain so the female's attracting hormone has no effect. And yet, as far as I know, there are no other negative side effects in the short term. Amazing. too bad it doesn't work that way for people.

  4. #4
    Forum Moderator Stefan-A's Avatar
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    Re: Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    Quote Originally Posted by ConcinnusMan View Post
    Back on topic, what common person would have ever guessed that in spite of having sperm production, all the hormones, etc.. that taking out one little organ could break the chain of sexual desire for male snakes?
    Well, I would have. So would you. If you know that it exists and what it does, the obvious conclusion would be that breaking it would have that effect. Unless of course it's like some of the organs, whose removal just leads to other organs taking over its tasks (at least in part).

  5. #5
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    Re: Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    That's my point. I had no idea about the existence of this gland they are speaking of. (Harderian gland) and yet it's the largest gland in their head? I know about the most commonly discussed glands. I simply assumed that the jacobson's organ picked up pheremones and passed them onto the brain. That is an incorrect assumption apparently.

    As primitive as snakes may seem to be on the surface, they are actually quite complex. Biology and physics is the two areas of science I got the best grades in and with minimal effort in spite of my very poor math skills. I am now disgusted at much of the material they were teaching. Looking back I can say it wasn't subjective enough, or do I mean to say "too subjective" I don't know. I failed english time and time again in spite of having a significantly above average vocabulary from age 7-17.

    I would say the most valuable (to me) things I have learned in my life happened after 1990 (age 20). That's about the time I went "online" and never looked back. I've learned so much since then, but rarely have opened a book.
    Last edited by ConcinusMan; 04-20-2010 at 04:05 AM.

  6. #6
    Ophiuchus rhea drache's Avatar
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    Re: Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    it's all in the head, boys, all in the head
    rhea
    "you cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus" Mark Twain


  7. #7
    Domos Ophiusa gregmonsta's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    Quote Originally Posted by ConcinnusMan View Post
    I think it's very important to keep records. If possible, tracing entire linage from sire and dam, all the way back to the wild,(exact location of each parent) and taking note of EVERYTHING when it comes to feeding, breeding, etc.
    Definately, it's one habit I've kept from when I studied two male ribbon snakes for SYS Biology (Sixth Year Studies - Pre-university schooling offered in British secondary schools). I still have my old records but I have yet to transfer them to a spreadsheet.
    Hobby records, as well as personal observations documented on this site, are an invaluable resource.
    Keeping - 'Florida blue' sirtalis, concinnus, infernalis, parietalis, radix, marcianus and ocellatus.

  8. #8
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    Re: Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    I know it seems as if we got way off topic but keep those records diligently and your garter snake breeding projects and notes about everything, especially linage, however insignificant it might seem. Any snake I sell or give away will come with a record of linage as far back to the wild as I can confirm. Any snake bred to that snake should also come with linage as far back as possible. This only works if the new owner retains the record and ads to it and passes the info on, and so on..

    That type of record could be invaluable when it comes to certain unexplainable behavior or other things that may come up in the future offspring. What if a certain garter becomes extinct or extremely rare in the wild and yet thrives in captivity or at least, clings to existence in captivity? Those records could save a species.

    We are all sitting her wondering about the relationship of certain wild garters to other wild garters. Nature does not have a reliable records keeper. We can do better.

  9. #9
    Forum Moderator Stefan-A's Avatar
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    Re: Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    Quote Originally Posted by drache View Post
    it's all in the head, boys, all in the head
    We already know that, but which one?

  10. #10
    "Third shed, A Success" MasSalvaje's Avatar
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    Re: Male garter snake "castration" by cranial invasive surgery?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan-A View Post
    We already know that, but which one?
    Wow! You are right though!

    -Thomas

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