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Scientists Discover the Snake Lady Space

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Death Adder Snake

A demise adder snake (Acanthophis antarcticus). Credit: Luke Allen

An worldwide workforce of researchers, led by the University of Adelaide has offered the primary anatomical description of the feminine snake woman space, in a first-of-its-kind examine.

An worldwide workforce of researchers, led by the University of Adelaide has offered the primary anatomical description of the feminine snake woman space, in a first-of-its-kind examine.

PhD Candidate Megan Folwell from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, led the analysis.

“Across the animal kingdom female genitalia are overlooked in comparison to their male counterparts,” mentioned Ms. Folwell.

“Our study counters the long-standing assumption that the lady area (hemiclitores) is either absent or non-functional in snakes.”

The analysis concerned examination of feminine genitalia in grownup snake specimens throughout 9 species, compared to adult and juvenile male snake genitalia.

Associate Professor Kate Sanders, School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, said: “We found the heart-shaped snake hemiclitores is composed of nerves and red blood cells consistent with erectile tissue – which suggests it may swell and become stimulated during mating. This is important because snake mating is often thought to involve coercion of the female – not seduction.”

“Through our research we have developed proper anatomical descriptions and labels of the female snake genitalia. We can apply our findings to further understand systematics, reproductive evolution, and ecology across snake-like reptiles, such as lizards.”

The study was published on December 14, 2022, in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B Journal.

“We are proud to contribute this research, particularly as female genitalia across every species is unfortunately still taboo,” said Ms. Folwell.

“This discovery shows how science needs diverse thinkers with diverse ideas to move forward.”
Associate Professor Kate Sanders, from the School of Biological Sciences, the University of Adelaide

Associate Professor Sanders added the research would not have happened without Ms. Folwell’s fresh perspective on genital evolution.

“This discovery shows how science needs diverse thinkers with diverse ideas to move forward,” she said.

The snakes studied included the Acanthophis antarcticus (also known as the Death adder), Pseudechis colleti, Pseudechis weigeli, and Pseudonaja ingrami (native to different parts of Australia), the Agkistrodon bilineatus (native to Mexico and Central America as far south as Honduras), Bitis arietans (native to semiarid regions of Africa and Arabia), Helicops polylepis (from Estación Biológica Madre Selva, Peru), Lampropeltis abnormal (from Los Brisas del Mogoton, Nicaragua), and Morelia spilota (native to Australia, New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), Bismarck Archipelago, and the northern Solomon Islands.)

Reference: “First evidence of hemiclitores in snakes” by Megan J. Folwell, Kate L. Sanders, Patricia L. R. Brennan and Jenna M. Crowe-Riddell, 14 December 2022, Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences.
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2022.1702

Holyoake College in Massachusets, the School of Agriculture at La Trobe University, the South Australian Museum, and the Museum of Ecology and the area of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, also contributed to this research.

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