Turn up the colour: male frogs use bright colours to avoid confusion at the pond

Imagine being a frog during the chaos of the breeding season and navigating the gathering crowds around the pond. How do you know who might be a suitable mate let alone whether they are male or female? One solution is colour. If one sex, typically males, is able to turn on some bright colour . . . → Read More: Turn up the colour: male frogs use bright colours to avoid confusion at the pond

Hot off the press! Toads at the invasion front are more prone to explore and take risks

By Jodie Gruber

The cane toad (Rhinella marina) has been spreading rapidly across northern Australia since its introduction to control sugar cane beetles in 1935. While toads have been the focus of considerable research, we still have a poor understanding of how behavioiural traits vary across the range, particularly with respect to traits that . . . → Read More: Hot off the press! Toads at the invasion front are more prone to explore and take risks

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?

Jacky Dragons have labile displays and don’t discriminate among populations

Marco Barquero’s hard work has paid off! For his PhD, Marco travelled far and wide in his quest to study signalling in Jacky Dragons. Chapter 1 has just been published in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. Marco studied three populations for which we had genetic data (thanks to Mitzy Pepper and Scott Keogh at . . . → Read More: Jacky Dragons have labile displays and don’t discriminate among populations

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)

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

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

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