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Frequency of tail loss reflects variation in predation levels, predator efficiency, and the behaviour of three populations of brown anoles

Bateman, P.W. and Fleming, P.A. (2011) Frequency of tail loss reflects variation in predation levels, predator efficiency, and the behaviour of three populations of brown anoles. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 103 (3). pp. 648-656.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01646.x
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Abstract

We investigated two predictions regarding the incidence of tail regeneration in lizards for three populations of brown anoles exposed to varying predation levels from the same predator (cats). Firstly although inefficient predators are likely to increase the incidence of regenerated tails (i.e. lizards can escape through tail autotomy), highly efficient predators will kill and eat the lizard and thus leave no evidence of autotomy. At the site with no cats, only 4% of anoles demonstrated signs of tail regeneration. This value was not significantly different from the site where feral cats (i.e. 'efficient' predators that would capture prey to eat, as supported by behavioural observation) were present (7%). By contrast, 25% of anoles present at the site with pet cats (well-fed domesticated cats that caught and played with anoles, i.e. were 'inefficient' predators) exhibited regenerated tails. Secondly, more obvious lizards are more susceptible to predation attempts. Supporting this hypothesis, our data indicate a higher incidence of regenerated tails (28%) was recorded amongst adult males (which are territorial, occupying exposed positions) compared to females and subadult males (17%) or juveniles (1%). In conclusion, the behaviour of both the predator and the lizard influences the frequency of regenerated tails in brown anoles.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc.
Copyright: © 2011 The Linnean Society of London.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4695
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