Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 323-330

First online:

Conspecifics as cues: A mechanism for habitat selection in the Panamanian grass anole (Anolis auratus)

  • A. Ross KiesterAffiliated withMuseum of Comparative Zoology and Society of Fellows, Harvard University

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In an experimental choice situation, individuals of both sexes of the lizard Anolis auratus choose to associate with a conspecific individual regardless of its sex. Further, individuals of both sexes associate with an individual of A. tropidogaster, a related species. Given the choice between the two species, they choose their own. Given the choice between a conspecific and a small patch of natural habitat, they do not choose one or the other consistently. These experiments indicate that conspecific association does not function just as a mate selection mechanism as has been previously proposed. The initial association may, in addition, serve a habitat selection function. Conspecifics can thus be seen as cues indicating the presence of suitable habitat as well as being important biological factors in themselves.