Skinks and Ladders: A family-living lizard’s learning ability is not affected by their home environment

By Julia Riley

A family-living lizard’s ability to navigate through a complex maze is not linked to how they were raised

We have found that the learning ability of the Tree Skink, a lizard that lives with family, is not linked to growing up with others. These lizards were . . . → Read More: Skinks and Ladders: A family-living lizard’s learning ability is not affected by their home environment

Why do winners keep winning?

by Fonti Kar

Animals often find themselves in direct competition with other individuals for resources and mates. Because fighting is costly, many species honestly signal their fighting ability to avoid injury (non-escalated fights). For example, in flat lizards (Platysaurus broadleyi), males can resolve dominance status by displaying their UV-reflective throats to their opponent. . . . → Read More: Why do winners keep winning?

Lizard Lab word cloud

Lizard Lab word cloud based on titles and key words from about 35 recent papers. Martin made this instead of working on an important research grant. It somehow seemed much more fun at the time. It does nicely sum up the research in the lab . . . → Read More: Lizard Lab word cloud

Territoriality in a snake

While there are snakes that have been shown to be territorial in an ecological context, such as Taiwanese kukrisnakes which defend sea turtle nests (citation below), territoriality in a sexual selection context has never been demonstrated in a snake. Until now. Jonno Webb has been studying broadheaded and small-eyed snakes in Morton National Park, . . . → Read More: Territoriality in a snake

New African flat lizard named for David Attenborough

David Attenborough has had, and continues to have, a remarkable career making documentaries about the natural world. To this end, he has inspired generations of biologists. We were very pleased when he turned his attention to amphibians and reptiles for the making of the series Life in Cold Blood. And we were particularly happy . . . → Read More: New African flat lizard named for David Attenborough

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!

Athletic lizards: Sex, hormones, and physical performance

By Dan Noble

When it comes to animal athletics lizards have been model systems for exploring the relationships between ecology and physical performance. Our two recent papers, one in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society and the second in Behavioral Ecology add to the growing list of studies looking at functional performance in lizards.

Eastern water . . . → Read More: Athletic lizards: Sex, hormones, and physical performance

Kalahari tree skinks associate with sociable weaver nests despite African pygmy falcons

In the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa sociable weaver nests are a prominent feature in the landscape. These large nests typically occupy camelthorn trees and provide a refuge to a range of organisms, including Kalahari tree skinks (Trachylepis spilogaster). They also provide refuge for a predator of the skink: the African pygmy falcon, which . . . → Read More: Kalahari tree skinks associate with sociable weaver nests despite African pygmy falcons

Sex, boldness and learning in a lizard

Followers of the Lizard Lab blog will have read previous reports about relatively rapid learning in lizards. In those studies we typically focused on males or avoided drawing comparisons between the sexes because either the sample size was limited or the focus of the study was different. In our latest paper we decided the . . . → Read More: Sex, boldness and learning in a lizard

Hatchling lizards show their smarts in the classroom

Lizard cognition has experienced something of a resurgence in the last few years. To get up to speed, take a look at a previous post summarising most of the recent published work. In a new paper published online in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Ben Clark, Dan Noble and Martin Whiting from the Lizard Lab . . . → Read More: Hatchling lizards show their smarts in the classroom