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Lizard homing behavior: the role of the parietal eye during displacement and radio-tracking, and time-compensated celestial orientation in the lizard Sceloporus jarrovi

Summary

The role of the parietal eye was investigated in Yarrow's spiny lizard, Sceloporus jarrovi. Three groups of lizards were displaced approximately 150 m from previously determined home ranges: (1) normal lizards, (2) sham-treated lizards (paint placed alongside the parietal eye), and (3) experimental lizards (parietal eye covered with a layer of paint). Significantly fewer experimental lizards returned home (20%) than either the normal (61%) or sham-treated lizards (57%). Control studies indicated that the parietal eye treatment did not affect the daily activity patterns, home range size, or survivorship of the lizards. Radio-tracking of displaced S. jarrovi showed that \(\raise.5ex\hbox{$\scriptstyle 1$}\kern-.1em/ \kern-.15em\lower.25ex\hbox{$\scriptstyle 2$} \) h after displacement, normal and sham-treated lizards moved in homeward pathways that were significantly non-random. Experimental lizards, however, were not significantly oriented, either \(\raise.5ex\hbox{$\scriptstyle 1$}\kern-.1em/ \kern-.15em\lower.25ex\hbox{$\scriptstyle 2$} \) or 3\(\raise.5ex\hbox{$\scriptstyle 1$}\kern-.1em/ \kern-.15em\lower.25ex\hbox{$\scriptstyle 2$} \) h later, and all moved in random directions after their release. The use of celestial cues for homing orientation was also examined. One group of lizards was maintained on a natural light-dark cycle (no phase-shift:NPS) while a second group was subjected to a 6-h advanced phase-shift (APS). All lizards were released in the field approximately 150m from their home ranges and radio-tracked. The NPL lizards were oriented towards home 30 min after release while the APS lizards shifted their orientation in a counterclockwise direction. Both NPS and APS lizards improved their orientation after 3 h.

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Ellis-Quinn, B.A., Simony, C.A. Lizard homing behavior: the role of the parietal eye during displacement and radio-tracking, and time-compensated celestial orientation in the lizard Sceloporus jarrovi . Behav Ecol Sociobiol 28, 397–407 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00164121

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Keywords

  • Home Range
  • Home Range Size
  • Compass Orientation
  • Alligator Mississippiensis
  • Male Lizard