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Lateralization at the individual and population levels of European green lizard in Slovak Karst

Abstract

Lateralization is one of the specific characteristics of animals, occurring in both invertebrates and vertebrates. Lateralization exists at two levels, individual level and population level. This research is focused on the individual- and population-level lateralization of the European green lizard (Lacerta viridis) under laboratory conditions. Lateralization was observed experimentally in a modified T-maze without the possibility of visual control by lizards. Lizards were stimulated by a piston from the caudal side to simulate a predator attack from behind. The numbers of left and right choices were evaluated. Statistical analysis confirmed no statistically significant difference in lateralization at both the individual and population levels. The absence or presence of autotomy suggests that non-biased lizards have a better chance of escape from a predator than left- or right-biased individuals. In the population of L. viridis studied by us, it seems that to be non-biased could be the best strategy to survive predator attacks.

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Funding

The study was partially funded by the project of Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education, science, research, and sport of the Slovak Republic and the Slovak Academy of Sciences—VEGA 2/0113/18 and 1/0298/19 and APVV-19–0440.

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Correspondence to Igor Majláth.

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Pikalík, M., Pipová, N., Majláthová, V. et al. Lateralization at the individual and population levels of European green lizard in Slovak Karst. acta ethol 25, 15–24 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10211-021-00382-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10211-021-00382-x

Keywords

  • Lacerta viridis
  • Escape behaviour
  • Laterality
  • T-maze
  • Autotomy