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

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

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

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

Quoll school is in session..

Scientists (including Lizard Lab associate Jonno Webb) have been trying to ameliorate the impact of toxic cane toads on the threatened northern quoll. They have been doing this using taste aversion learning, where quolls are fed nausea-inducing cane toad sausages from which they develop a negative association and thereafter avoid. There is evidence that . . . → Read More: Quoll school is in session..

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!

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

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