The 8th World Congress of Herpetology

Note: the following post is by Julia Riley and also posted on her web page.

On 14 August 2016, a small contingent of the Lizard Lab headed from Sydney, Australia to Hangzhou, China for the 8th World Congress of Herpetology. Our fearless leader, Martin Whiting, as well as James Baxter-Gilbert and I were the Lizard . . . → Read More: The 8th World Congress of Herpetology

Do you study colour? Hot (and warm) off the press!

Interested in colour signals and wondering about the best approaches to researching colour and what you should be reporting? Two recent papers from members of the lab and fellow researchers at Macquarie and elsewhere should help! In the first paper, Kemp et al. provide a framework for studying animal colour. This is not a . . . → Read More: Do you study colour? Hot (and warm) off the press!

Brotherly love reduces conflict in fruit flies

Lizard Lab alumnus Pau Carazo is best known for his work on communication in lizards. Along the way he has dabbled with beetles and now, fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). In a recent paper in Nature, Pau and his colleagues at Oxford designed a novel series of experiments to test recent theory that kin selection . . . → Read More: Brotherly love reduces conflict in fruit flies

A lizard’s guide to mating: Alternative reproductive tactics give males an edge in finding the ladies

By Dan Noble

Sexual selection – the differential reproductive success of individuals – is a powerful evolutionary force. Sexual selection can lead to evolution of both beautiful and bizarre phenotypes, such as peacock trains, deer antlers and the complex displays and bright colours of many lizards. Although we see these tell-tail signs of sexual . . . → Read More: A lizard’s guide to mating: Alternative reproductive tactics give males an edge in finding the ladies

Hobart Smith: September 26, 1912 – March 4, 2013

I just learnt today that Hobart Muir Smith passed away a few days ago at age 100. Hobart is the most published herpetologist of all time (likely > 1600 publications) and is especially well known in North America and Mexico for his massive contribution to herpetology. He described over 100 species and he has . . . → Read More: Hobart Smith: September 26, 1912 – March 4, 2013

Curious about the natural history of Australian lizards?

The Lizard Lab recently had the pleasure of a visit from Steve Wilson and he was kind enough to bring a few copies of his new book Australian Lizards: A Natural History. As Steve points out in the preface, we don’t hear people talking about lizards nearly enough! The root of this problem may, . . . → Read More: Curious about the natural history of Australian lizards?

Tadpoles need friends too!

A major interest in our lab is social behaviour and why animals live in groups. Group formation has evolved numerous times independently in many different species. Understanding the proximate mechanisms and ultimate (evolutionary) factors driving group formation is a major challenge in evolutionary biology. Stephan Leu recently spent time in the Lizard Lab and . . . → Read More: Tadpoles need friends too!

Sex in the lizard world: Promiscuous females and protective males

The sex life of Australian water skinks (Eulamprus) has received considerable attention in the past few decades. The Keogh Lab documented alternate reproductive tactics in E. heatwolei and Jess Stapley’s PhD focused in part, on fitness consequences of ARTs. More recently, Dan Noble has been working on ARTs in E. quoyii, and this work . . . → Read More: Sex in the lizard world: Promiscuous females and protective males

The global conservation status of reptiles: one in five species is threatened

With the exception of perhaps crocodiles and turtles, the attention devoted to the conservation of reptiles has for a long time lagged behind that devoted to birds and mammals. A recent study published in Biological Conservation, to which we contributed a small amount of data, has attempted to redress this conservation short-fall. The extinction . . . → Read More: The global conservation status of reptiles: one in five species is threatened

Matching colours: lizards prefer mates with similar colours

Guillem Pérez i de Lanuza, Enrique Font and Pau Carazo have just published their work on colour assortative mating in the polymorphic lizard Podarcis muralis in Behavioral Ecology. Pau has previously spent time in our lab and works with us on a number of projects. The following is written by Pau and is a . . . → Read More: Matching colours: lizards prefer mates with similar colours