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

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

Welcome Dr. Feng Xu!

The Lizard Lab welcomes our friend and colleague Dr. Feng Xu, visiting from Xinjiang, China, for a year! Feng is visiting from the Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land (KLBB), Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). His research has three main areas: 1) conservation biology of . . . → Read More: Welcome Dr. Feng Xu!

Lizard Lab launches new Behaviour and Cognition Centre!

We have acquired an amazing new indoor space in which we can study lizard and toad behaviour and cognition. We have a small room for a Morris Water Maze for studying spatial cognition (ably set up by Jodie Gruber), a much larger room with lots of shelves and CCTV where we are currently working . . . → Read More: Lizard Lab launches new Behaviour and Cognition Centre!

Dispatches from the field: the social lizard landscape (Albury, New South Wales)

Part I By Martin Whiting

This post is long-overdue! Here, we are reporting on two field trips to our new study site in Albury, in New South Wales, close to the border with Victoria. In December of last year, Martin, Dan and Geoff While (University of Tasmania) went on a field trip to establish . . . → Read More: Dispatches from the field: the social lizard landscape (Albury, New South Wales)

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

Dispatches from the field: South Australia tree skink reconnaissance

By Julia Riley

The Tree Skink (Egernia striolata) field crew has just returned from fieldwork in South Australia. We (Julia, James, Martin and Dan) were checking out two new field sites for potential long-term monitoring of social systems.

Our trip began by flying to Adelaide, and even though it was Good Friday Adelaide . . . → Read More: Dispatches from the field: South Australia tree skink reconnaissance

Freek Vonk visits the Lizard Lab

Freek Vonk is a Dutch scientist and nature documentary presenter. He and his crew have just wrapped season 1 of “Freek in Australia”. Part of this series consisted of a day at our lab filming cane toads and discussing our work on cognition followed by a trip to our water dragon site at Lane . . . → Read More: Freek Vonk visits the Lizard Lab

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