Skip to main content
Log in

Time matters. Locomotor behavior of Lacerta viridis and Lacerta agilis in an open field maze

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
acta ethologica Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Locomotor performance provides one of the key pieces of information regarding whole-organism function. Experiments encompassing behavioral data commonly endeavor to measure parameters such as burst speed, latency time, distance traveled, and other aspects of locomotion. Behavioral experiments can uncover an immense range of information, from the individual, interspecific, and intraspecific levels up to correlations with ecological factors and parameters from the ecosystem. Here, we explored the locomotor behavior of two lizard species, Lacerta viridis and Lacerta agilis, in an open field test (OFT). The main aim was to reveal changes in locomotion over time. Although we observed no time-related variation in L. agilis, we discovered significant changes in locomotor behavior over the course of the experiment in Lacerta viridis. Measured behavioral traits (resting time, total distance traveled, mean speed) showed significant changes across time in L. viridis, thus indicating the importance of time as a factor when conducting behavioral experiments. Moreover, we observed that in 10-min experimental session, the individuals have undergone different stages from freezing behavior, exploration, to habituation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references


Natália Pipová, Tiberiu Sahlean, Gabriel Bogdan, and Peter Hiznan were of a great help in locating and capturing lizards. Monika Balogová was an excellent adviser on experiment design. Capturing lizards in protected areas was carried out with official permission no. 5498/2011-2.2 issued by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic. Capturing lizards in Romania was under supervision of Cluj Napoca University. This study was realized within the frame of project “Centrum of Excellence for Parasitology” no. 26220120022 supported by operating program “Research and Development” funded by European Fund for Regional Development and financially supported also by projects VVGS-PF-2015-483 and VEGA 1/0417/14 (0.6). The work of Anamarija Žagar was supported by the national program “Women in science” from L’Oreal and the Slovenian national commission for UNESCO. The linguistic part of the article was reviewed and edited by David Lee McLean.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Adriana Pačuta.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Pačuta, A., Žagar, A., Kočíková, B. et al. Time matters. Locomotor behavior of Lacerta viridis and Lacerta agilis in an open field maze. acta ethol 21, 91–99 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: