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Experience may allow increasing accuracy of the innate chemosensory recognition of snake predators by Iberian wall lizards

AutorMartín Rueda, José ; Ortega, Jesús; López Martínez, Pilar
Palabras clavePredation risk
Chemical recognition
Innate responses
Fecha de publicación26-jul-2015
CitaciónBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 69(9): 1565-1572 (2015)
ResumenMany animals can recognize chemical cues of predators and show defensive responses, but antipredatory behavior can be costly and should be modulated depending on the level of risk posed by each predatory species. Recognition ability may be innate, but it is not clear whether there might also be local adaptation to predation pressure levels or some learning component. We examined the chemosensory ability of naïve and adult Iberian wall lizards, Podarcis hispanicus, to detect chemical cues of two closely related Coronella snake species in two localities within the same continuous population. Lizards in each locality are sympatric with only one of the two snake species. Our results showed an innate chemosensory discrimination of predatory snake cues, as both adult lizards and captive reared naïve hatchlings, which had not had any previous experience with the snake cues, had short latencies to the first tongue-flick, increased tongue-flick responses, and active escape behavior from the scent of either of the two snake species. Moreover, adult lizards, but not naïve hatchlings, showed differential responses to the two different snake species, with higher responses to the snake species that is sympatric in each locality. This strongly suggests that there is a learning component acquired through previous lifetime experiences that may increase accuracy of the discrimination of the sympatric snake. Therefore, through learning of local conditions, lizards may modulate their innate antipredatory responses to the risk level posed by each snake species.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-015-1968-z
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