Individual dispersal status influences space use of conspecific residents in the common lizard, Lacerta vivipara
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- Aragón, P., Clobert, J. & Massot, M. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2006) 60: 430. doi:10.1007/s00265-006-0183-3
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The effects of immigration on the behaviour of residents may have important implications for the local population characteristics. A manipulative laboratory experiment with yearlings of the common lizard (Lacerta vivipara) was performed to test whether the introduction of dispersing or philopatric individuals influences the short-term spacing behaviour of resident individuals. Staged encounters were carried out to induce interactions within dyads. The home cage of each responding individual was connected by a corridor to an unfamiliar “arrival cage” to measure the latency to leave their own home cage after each encounter. Our results showed that the time that pairs spent in close proximity was longer when a dispersing individual was introduced in the home cage. The latency to leave the home cage was longer after the introduction of a dispersing individual. These response variables were not influenced by the relative body sizes of contestants nor by the level of aggression towards each other. In contrast, the aggressive response was significantly influenced by the residency asymmetry established experimentally (“owner” of the home cage vs introduced individual). Our results suggest that the space use by resident individuals is influenced by the dispersal status of conspecifics. The potential ultimate causes driving this effect are discussed.