, Volume 146, Issue 4, pp 675–680

The influence of parasites on the retention of long-term partnerships in the Australian sleepy lizard, Tiliqua rugosa

Behavioural Ecology

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-005-0224-z

Cite this article as:
Bull, C.M. & Burzacott, D.A. Oecologia (2006) 146: 675. doi:10.1007/s00442-005-0224-z


Many studies have shown that potential partners are less likely to be chosen for mating if they are infected with parasites, although most of those studies have considered short-term choices. This paper shows that the Australian sleepy lizard, Tiliqua rugosa (Scincoidea), retains long-term pair fidelity for up to 21 years. However, in some cases pairs separate, and abandoned males have significantly higher tick loads in their last year with their previous female partner than did males that retained their partners from 1 year to the next. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that pair bonds are retained because individuals, both with low infection levels, are less likely to become infected if they remain with the same sexual partner.


LizardsMating systemsMonogamyParasitesTicks

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia