Social cues mediate space use in a small Australian elapid snake

Snakes have traditionally been viewed as the poor cousins of lizards where social behaviour is concerned.  This is perhaps an artefact of generally being more cryptic and less tractable than lizards and therefore more difficult to study. Nevertheless, snakes are really just legless lizards and share the same chemosensory system (Jacobsen’s organ for vomerolfaction) . . . → Read More: Social cues mediate space use in a small Australian elapid snake

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!

PhD Scholarship opportunity to work on social intelligence in Egernia skinks

Macquarie University is currently offering MQRES scholarships for prospective Australian or NZ PhD students who can commence by 15 December 2012.

We know this is short notice, but the combination of a positive outcome in the latest funding round from the Australian Research Council and the availability of Macquarie-funded PhD scholarships for domestic . . . → Read More: PhD Scholarship opportunity to work on social intelligence in Egernia skinks

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

Sex and the single (yellow) frog

Dynamic (physiological) colour change in the context of sexual selection is almost unstudied in frogs. The whirring tree frog (Litoria revelata) is one of several Australian frogs which use colour during sexual advertisement. Grant Webster’s honours project is to test whether colour is indicative of male quality. To this end, he is measuring the . . . → Read More: Sex and the single (yellow) frog

What makes an angry Phrynocephalus mystaceus?

A very upset Phrynocephalus mystaceus. Photo © Qi Yin.

Blog posting by Dr. Qi Yin, Chengdu Institute of Biology (CAS)

When you see the colorful and threatening face above, what response does this evoke? Imagine a lizard predator about to grab a lizard and suddenly it flares it’s cheek flaps and . . . → Read More: What makes an angry Phrynocephalus mystaceus?

Dispatches from the field: in search of the mystical Secret Toad-headed Agama and other tail waving lizards in China

This dispatch comes to you from the Tukai Desert in north-west China, a short drive (about 15 km) from the Kazakhstan border. We are three weeks into a six-week field trip. The lab is currently working on the evolution of complex tail waves and colour signals in Asian toad-headed agamas (Phrynocephalus) in . . . → Read More: Dispatches from the field: in search of the mystical Secret Toad-headed Agama and other tail waving lizards in China

Mole-rats varied life boosts the brain — ABC Science

Read an account of our recent work on mole-rat spatial cognition by Dani Cooper of ABC science. This work was carried out by Lydia du Toit while she she was on a postdoc with Martin.

Mole-rats varied life boosts the brain — ABC Science

Natal mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus natalensis). Photo © Jenny Jarvis.

. . . → Read More: Mole-rats varied life boosts the brain — ABC Science

Small-eyed snakes and their aromatic social life

by Mitch Scott

The Lizard Lab has experienced a first this past year, with an honours project on the chemical communication in snakes, wrapping up this past April. The project has generated some excitement, both positive and slightly hesitant, with lizard enthusiasts coming to terms with the unusual lack of limbs. But with the . . . → Read More: Small-eyed snakes and their aromatic social life

Lizard Conquers Ant Crusher

A pet Bearded Dragon makes the Sydney Morning Herald for its superior ability on the video game Ant Crusher. Lizard Lab associate Peter Harlow is called upon to comment. Read about it here: Aussie lizard has smartphone game licked.