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Chemical Exploratory Behavior in the Lizard Liolaemus bellii

Antonieta Labra, Sandra Beltrán and Hermann M. Niemeyer
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar., 2001), pp. 51-55
DOI: 10.2307/1566022
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1566022
Page Count: 5
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Chemical Exploratory Behavior in the Lizard Liolaemus bellii
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Abstract

An experimental study was carried out to determine whether self and conspecific chemical recognition occurs in Liolaemus bellii, a Tropidurid lizard from Central Chile. Experiments were performed during the autumn and the spring. Using the number of tongue flicks as an indicator of discrimination, it was found that L. bellii showed both self and conspecific chemical recognition. Lizards recognized their own territories, and conspecific chemical recognition showed seasonal changes. During autumn, lizards showed higher exploratory behavior (higher numbers of tongue flicks and motion time) than in spring, and female enclosures elicited in males higher numbers of tongue flicks. Similar results were previously found in other Liolaemus species from a different habitat. The information available at present for Liolaemus suggests that recognition of own territory is more important than recognition of conspecifics, and the latter seems to be associated mainly to the reproductive season. Therefore, conspecific and self-chemical recognition seem to be independent of the habitat used by the species, although habitat could modulate the use of chemical signals.

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