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Socially acquired information from chemical cues in the common lizard,Lacerta vivipara

Authors
Journal
Animal Behaviour
0003-3472
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
72
Issue
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.11.023
Disciplines
  • Chemistry

Abstract

The use of information from chemical cues about the presence of conspecifics and their social interactions may be advantageous because it allows individuals to assess the social environment in the absence of the signallers. We tested experimentally whether the selection of nocturnal shelters by juveniles of the common lizard was influenced by the scent marks from three isolated or three socially housed adult males or females, keeping constant the number of donors for all treatments. We gave each juvenile a choice between a shelter containing odours from adults and a shelter with no odour and we compared the response to odours from three adults housed singly with that to odours from three adults that had the opportunity to interact. The shelter site selection of juveniles was influenced by the odour of socially housed adult males, but not by that of isolated males, and partly depended on the mother's site of origin and the juvenile's body condition. This study shows that juveniles use social information from conspecific chemical cues and that various phenotypes may use this information in different ways.

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