Mating behaviour in pygmy bluetongue lizards: do females ‘attract’ male lizards?
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Mating behaviour in lizards has been well studied, with most reports indicating that the male dominates in initiating the mating, characteristically displaying visually to attract partners. This strategy may be less successful in secretive species that remain in small areas around their refuge, infrequently encountering other conspecifics, like the endangered Australian pygmy blue tongue lizard (Tiliqua adelaidensis). Adult lizards of this species spend most of their time in or at the entrance of single entrance vertical burrows, built by spiders, in patches of native grassland in South Australia. We filmed the behaviour of nine female lizards for 10 days in each month from October 2011 to February 2012. During filming in October, the austral spring, we observed 43 cases of females making moves away from their burrows, and back along the same path, in that month, that we did not observe among males, or among females in any other month. We observed 27 cases of males approaching female burrows, only in October and mostly along the paths previously taken by the females. Males attempted to mate, and were successful on five occasions. We describe the female movements and suggest that their function is to attract male mating partners. Key word: scincid, lizard, female luring behaviour, mating behaviour.
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