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Animal signals Cognition Communication Water skink project

Brains and Brawn: dominant lizards are better learners too!

Note: this blog post is republished from Fonti’s web site Dominant individuals tend to have greater monopoly over food and mates and therefore have more offspring compared to subordinate individuals. Are these successes attributed to greater cognitive ability? Or are dominant individuals just better at freeloading from their clever subordinate counterparts? We investigated whether dominant […]

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Animal signals Behaviour Publications Sexual selection Water skink project

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. However, when […]

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Behaviour Publications Sexual selection Water skink project

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. In our first study, […]

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Behaviour Cognition Herpetology Publications Water skink project

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 issue […]

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Behaviour Lab news Science news Sexual selection Water skink project

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 selection […]

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Lab news Publications Science news Sexual selection Water skink project

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 will […]

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Cognition Lab news Water skink project

Dan Noble talks lizard cognition

The Reptile Living Room interviewed Lizard Lab member Dan Noble about our recent Biology Letters paper on spatial cognition in Eastern Water skinks. Here’s what he had to say:

Categories
Cognition Lab news Water skink project

Hot off the press! “Learning outdoors: male lizards show flexible spatial learning under semi-natural conditions”

For anyone interested in comparative cognition, these are exciting times and 2012 has been a good year for lizards! Manuel Leal and Robert Powell’s study of Anolis cognition demonstrated that lizards are capable of behavioural flexibility. (Behavioural flexibility, a key feature of advanced cognition, is the ability to solve a novel problem, or develop a […]

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Lab news Water skink project

Kerrie hands in her honours thesis!

On Monday, Kerrie (Wechmann, that is), handed in her honours thesis! And with this, she is the first member of the Australian branch of the Lizard Lab to hand in a thesis of any shape or form. Well done Kerrie! A big celebration is planned. Kerrie did a paternity study examining the influence of behaviour […]

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Lab news Water skink project

Baby boom in the Lizard Lab!

Yes, that’s right, the first of our Water Skink (Eulamprus quoyii) babies have made their way into the world. Although it is earlier then expected, these little cuties are doing all the cool stuff their parents do. Little head bobs, chowing down on crickets and even biting their captors! The  babies are extremely small, only […]