Chemosensory mate recognition may facilitate prolonged mate guarding by male snow skinks, Niveoscincus microlepidotus
- Cite this article as:
- Olsson, M. & Shine, R. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1998) 43: 359. doi:10.1007/s002650050502
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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.