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?

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

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

Better red than dead? Fiery frills win more contests in the Australian Frillneck Lizard

Dave Hamilton, Martin Whiting and Sarah Pryke

Recently, the Pryke Lab published its first paper on a reptile—the iconic Frillneck Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii). Both males and females have frills and until now, the consensus has always been that frills play a role in anti-predator behaviour. Not only does the frill startle a would-be predator, . . . → Read More: Better red than dead? Fiery frills win more contests in the Australian Frillneck Lizard

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

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

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

Dispatches from the field: spectacular horned lizards, leeches and delicious curries in Sri Lanka

I didn’t have internet access in the field, so this dispatch is actually coming from my living-room in Sydney! I have just returned from a field trip with Ruchira Somaweera to the Knuckles Mountain range, which is to the north of Kandy in central Sri Lanka. Ruchira is the famed author of “Lizards of . . . → Read More: Dispatches from the field: spectacular horned lizards, leeches and delicious curries in Sri Lanka