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Behaviour Ecology Global warming Saiphos equalis

How will global warming affect egg-laying and live-bearing species? We asked one of the most extraordinary lizards in the world

By Iván Beltrán Environmental temperature determines many important aspects of an animal’s life. In ectotherms, commonly known as ‘cold-blooded’ animals, the temperature experienced during embryonic development significantly impacts a hatchling’s physiology and behaviour. For instance, nest temperatures determine offspring sex in turtles and crocodilians and affect body size in squamates, a group comprised of lizards […]

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Bluetongue lizard Bluetongue skink Cognition

Blue-tongue lizards are born smart, at least as smart as their parents!

By Birgit Szabo As children we have much to learn after we are born. We learn to walk, to talk, to develop our social skills, and when we start school we learn how to read, write and do maths. ​Humans, and many other animals, are considered altricial, meaning that juveniles need to be taken care […]

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Cognition Conservation Podarcis Publications

Hot off the press! An invasive lizard species can learn from other species

Check out our new paper on social learning in the Italian wall lizard, Podarcis sicula. This work formed part of Isabel Damas’ PhD thesis, and it was a huge effort! The question of what makes an invasive species successful compared to other species, that may fail to gain a foothold in a new location, is […]

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Behaviour Cognition Egernia Publications Social intelligence Sociality Tree skink project

Tree skinks go to school: The complexities of social learning in lizards

By: Fonti Kar & Julia Riley “Never study an animal that is smarter than you” – Dr Martin Whiting Animals learn about their environment and use what they have learnt while foraging, to increase mating success, avoid predators, and overall increase their chances of survival. An animal can learn by themselves, but this can be […]

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Anti-predator behaviour Behaviour Bluetongue lizard Bluetongue skink Colour Communication Deimatic display

Why blue tongue? A potential deimatic display has been uncovered in blue-tongue skinks

An enduring question among fans of blue-tongue lizards is why the blue tongue? Why have such an outrageously coloured tongue, given that the vast majority of lizards have a regular old pink tongue? Blueys (bluetongue skinks) are something of an Australian icon. They are part of Australian folklore and most Australians have encountered them either […]

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Animal signals Behaviour China field work Colour Communication Crocodile lizard Dispatches from the field

Dispatches from the field: new adventures with endangered crocodile lizards and oriental garden lizards

It’s been a very busy year, which explains why I am only now writing this blog post from my trip to China earlier this year (May-June). I had the amazing opportunity of seeing one of the world’s most endangered lizards—the crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus), in the wild, and working with one of the largest captive […]

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Animal signals Behaviour Colour Communication Frog

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 that […]

Categories
Behaviour Cane toads

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 enhance […]

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Cognition Tree skink project

Julia Riley interviewed on ABC radio!

Take a listen to Julia Riley discussing our latest publication on the influence of social environment on learning in tree skinks (Egernia striolata). The interview was with Marc Fennell on ABC radio. This work, led by Julia, has been published in Animal Cognition: Riley, JL., Noble, DWA., Byrne, RW., Whiting, MJ. 2016. Does social environment […]

Categories
Cognition Egernia Herpetology Publications Social behaviour Tree skink project

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 able to learn to navigate a […]