Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 1799-1811

First online:

Intraspecific Chemical Recognition in the Lizard Liolaemus tenuis

  • Antonieta LabraAffiliated withFacultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile
  • , Hermann M. NiemeyerAffiliated withFacultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile

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Experimental tests were conducted to determine whether females and males of the tree-dwelling lizard Liolaemus tenuis (Tropiduridae) show intraspecific chemical recognition during breeding and postreproductive seasons. Animals were individually maintained in plastic enclosures for one week. Thereafter, the number of tongue-flicks that a lizard performed in the enclosure of a male, a female, its own home enclosure, and a control (unused) enclosure were recorded. In both seasons, males and females made fewer tongue-flicks in their home enclosures than in any other one, indicating a recognition of a familiar place, probably a chemical self-recognition. Conspecific chemical recognition was season dependent. During the post-reproductive season, lizards tongue-flicked at similar rates in conspecific and control enclosures, while during the breeding season enclosures of females elicited more tongue-flicks by both sexes, and the overall tongue-flick rates were higher than in the postreproductive season. Results are discussed within the context of the social system of the species.

Liolaemus lizards conspecific chemical recognition tongue-flick