Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 1799–1811 | Cite as

Intraspecific Chemical Recognition in the Lizard Liolaemus tenuis

  • Antonieta Labra
  • Hermann M. Niemeyer


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 


  1. Alberts, A. C. 1989. Ultraviolet visual sensitivity in desert iguanas: Implications for pheromone detection. Anim. Behav. 38:129-137.Google Scholar
  2. Alberts, A. C. 1992. Pheromonal self-recognition in desert iguanas. Copeia 1992:229-232.Google Scholar
  3. Alberts, A. C. 1993. Chemical and behavioral studies of femoral glands secretions in iguanid lizards. Brain Behav. Ecol. 41:255-260.Google Scholar
  4. Copper, W. E. 1994. Chemical discrimination by tongue-flicking in lizards: A review with hypothesis on its origin and its ecological and phylogenetic relationships. J. Chem. Ecol. 20:439-487.Google Scholar
  5. Cooper, W. E. 1995. Foraging models, prey chemical discrimination, and phylogeny in lizards. Anim. Behav. 50:973-985.Google Scholar
  6. Cooper, W. E. 1998. Evaluation of swab and related tests as a bioassay for assessing responses by Squamate reptiles to chemical stimuli. J. Chem. Ecol. 24:841-866.Google Scholar
  7. Cooper, W. E., and Burghardt, G. M. 1990a. A comparative analysis of scoring methods for chemical discrimination of prey by squamate reptiles. J. Chem. Ecol. 16:45-65.Google Scholar
  8. Cooper, W. E., and Burghardt, G. M. 1990b. Vomerolfaction and vomodor. J. Chem. Ecol. 16:103-105.Google Scholar
  9. Cooper, W. E., and Garstka, W. R. 1987. Lingual responses to chemical fractions of urodaeal glandular pheromones of the skink Eumeces laticipes. J. Exp. Zool. 242:249-253.Google Scholar
  10. Cooper, W. E., and Trauth, S. E. 1992. Discrimination of conspecific male and female cloacal chemical stimuli by males and possession of a probable pheromone gland by females in a cordylid lizard, Gerrhosaurus nigrolineatus. Herpetologica 48:229-236.Google Scholar
  11. Cooper, W. E., Garstka, W. R., and Vitt, L. J. 1986. Female sex pheromones in the lizard Eumeces laticeps. Herpetologica 42:361-366.Google Scholar
  12. Cooper, W. E., LÓpez, P., and Salvador, A. 1994. Pheromone detection by an amphisbaenian. Anim. Behav. 47:1401-1411.Google Scholar
  13. De Fazio, A., Simon, C. A., Middendorf, G. A., and Romano, D. 1977. Iguanid substrate licking: A response to novel situations in Sceloporus jarrovi. Copeia 1977:706-709.Google Scholar
  14. De Perno, C. S., and Cooper, W. E. 1995. Prey chemical discrimination and strike-induced chemosensory searching in the lizard Liolaemus zapallarensis. Chemoecology 4:86-72.Google Scholar
  15. Donoso-Barros, R. 1966. Reptiles de Chile. Universidad de Chile, Santiago, 458 pp.Google Scholar
  16. Duvall, D., Graves, B. M., and Carpenter, G. C. 1987. Visual and chemical composite signalling effects of Sceloporus lizards fecal boli. Copeia 1987:1028-1031.Google Scholar
  17. Edwards, A. L. 1968. Experimental Design in Psychological Research, 3rd ed. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Etheridge, R. 1995. Redescription of Ctenoblepharys adspersa Tschudi, 1845, and the taxonomy of Liolaeminae (Reptilia: Squamata: Tropiduridae). Am. Mus. Novitates 3142:1-34.Google Scholar
  19. Frost, D. R., and Etheridge, R. 1989. A phylogenetic analysis and taxonomy of iguanian lizards (Reptilia: Squamata). Univ. Kans. Mus. Nat. Hist. Mis. Publ. 81.Google Scholar
  20. GÓmez, A., Font, E., and Desfilis, E. 1993. Chemoreception in the Lacertidae: Exploration and conspecific discrimination in the Spanish wall lizard, Podarcis hispanica, pp. 213-230, in E. D. Valakos, W. Böhme, V. Pérez-Mellando, and P. Maragou (eds.). Region: A Biological Approach, Lacetids of the Mediterranean, Hellenic Zoological Society, Athens.Google Scholar
  21. Graves, B. M., and Halpern, M. 1991. Discrimination of self from conspecific chemical cues in Tiliqua scincinoides (Sauria: Scincidae). J. Herpetol. 25:125-126.Google Scholar
  22. Greenberg, N. 1985. Exploratory behavior and stress in the lizard Anolis carolinensis. Z. Tierpsychol. 70:89-102.Google Scholar
  23. Halpern, M. 1992. Nasal chemical senses in reptiles: Structure and function, pp. 423-524, in C. Gans and D. Crews (eds.). Hormones, Brain and Behavior. Biology of Reptilia, Vol. 18.E. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  24. Labra, A. 1998. Selected body temperatures of seven Liolaemus lizards. Rev. Chil. Hist. Nat. 71:349-358.Google Scholar
  25. Maderson, P. F. A. 1972. The structure and evolution of holocrine epidermal glands in sphaerodactyline and eublepharine gekkonid lizards. Copeia 1972:559-571.Google Scholar
  26. Manzur, M. I., and Fuentes, E. R. 1979. Polygyny and agonistic behavior in the tree-dwelling lizard Liolaemus tenuis (Iguanidae). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 6:23-28.Google Scholar
  27. Mason, R. T. 1992. Reptilian pheromones, pp. 114-228, in C. Gans and D. Crews (eds.). Hormones, Brain and Behavior. Biology of Reptilia, Vol. 18E. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  28. Mason, R. T., and Gutzke, W. 1990. Sex recognition in the Leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularis (Sauria: Gekkonidae); Possible mediation by skin-derived semiochemicals. J. Chem. Ecol. 16:27-36.Google Scholar
  29. Moore, M. C., and Lindzey, J. 1992. The physiological basis of sexual behavior in males reptiles, pp. 70-113, in C. Gans and D. Crews (eds.). Hormones, Brain and Behavior. Biology of Reptilia, Vol. 18E. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  30. Steele, L. J., and Cooper, W. E. 1997. Investigations of pheromonal discrimination between conspecific individuals by male and female Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularis). Herpetologica 53:475-484.Google Scholar
  31. Werner, D. I., Baker, E. M., GonzÁlez, E del C., and Sosa, I. R. 1987. Kinship recognition and grouping in hatchling green iguanas. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 21:83-89.Google Scholar
  32. Whittier, J. M., and Tokarz, R. R. 1992. Physiological regulation of sexual behavior in female reptiles, pp. 24-69, in C. Gans and D. Crews (eds.). Hormones, Brain and Behavior. Biology of Reptilia, Vol. 18E. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  33. Zar, J. H. 1984. Biostatical Analysis. Prentice-Hall International, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 718 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonieta Labra
    • 1
  • Hermann M. Niemeyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile

Personalised recommendations