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The Importance of the Human Face in Risk Perception by Black Iguanas, Ctenosaura similis

Joanna Burger and Michael Gochfeld
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 27, No. 4 (Dec., 1993), pp. 426-430
DOI: 10.2307/1564831
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1564831
Page Count: 5
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The Importance of the Human Face in Risk Perception by Black Iguanas, Ctenosaura similis
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Abstract

Black iguanas (Ctenosaura similis) are eaten by humans and other predators throughout Central America. The importance of a human face to the avoidance and fleeing behavior of black iguanas was examined using an approaching person as the stimulus. Iguanas were exposed to an approaching person either with an exposed face or with the face covered with hair. In the latter case the iguanas received the conflicting stimuli of a person both approaching, yet appearing to retreat. Iguanas moved earlier, ran earlier, and ran farther when the approaching person had an exposed face compared to a face hidden by hair. For iguanas exposed to a face there were significant correlations between the escape behaviors; iguanas that moved and ran earlier also ran farther. However, for iguanas exposed to the hair there were no significant correlations among escape behaviors.

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