Document Type



We used microsatellite DNA markers to identify the extent to which multiple paternity within litters occurs among species of New World natricine snakes. We selected seven species to represent the three major clades of Natricinae and all three subclades of the gartersnake clade. Microsatellite DNA genotyping of dams and litters confirmed multiple paternity within litters of six species, including Thamnophis radix, T. sauritus, Storeria dekayi, S. occipitomaculata, Nerodia rhombifer, and Regina septemvittata. Multiple paternity was not evident in one litter of nine Thamnophis melanogaster. Together with published data documenting multiple paternity in T. bulteri, T. elegans, T. sirtalis, and N. sipedon, these results confirm the phylogenetically widespread occurrence of multiple paternity among New World natricines, emphasizing the need to consider phylogenetic (historical) explanations when analyzing snake mating systems.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Wusterbarth, T.L., R.B. King, M.R. Duvall, W.S. Grayburn, and G.M. Burghardt. 2010. Phylogenetically widespread multiple paternity in New World natricine snakes. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 5:86-93.


Department of Biological Sciences

Legacy Department

Department of Biological Sciences






Herpetological Conservation and Biology



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