Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 359–363

Chemosensory mate recognition may facilitate prolonged mate guarding by male snow skinks, Niveoscincus microlepidotus

  • Mats Olsson
  • Richard Shine
Original article

DOI: 10.1007/s002650050502

Cite this article as:
Olsson, M. & Shine, R. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1998) 43: 359. doi:10.1007/s002650050502


We provide evidence that male lizards can use chemosensory cues to identify individual females and probably therefore maintain long-term associations with these females in the wild. In the laboratory, males preferentially followed the scent trail of their vitellogenic female “partner” rather than that of another vitellogenic female. Our 5-year field study of the small viviparous scincid lizard (Niveoscincus microlepidotus) in alpine Tasmania showed that sexually mature males and females commonly formed “pairs” for long periods (on average 29 days). These pairs occurred primarily during the mating season, always involved one adult male and one adult female, and usually involved vitellogenic rather than gravid females. Our laboratory experiments suggest that a significant factor in maintaining those prolonged partnerships is male scent trailing of partners.

Key words Chemosensory mate recognition Lizards Niveoscincus microlepidotus Scent trails 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mats Olsson
    • 1
  • Richard Shine
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological Sciences A08, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, AustraliaAU

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