Does the lizard Platysaurus broadleyi aggregate because of social factors?

Luke Schutz, Devi Stuart-Fox, Martin J. Whiting*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Aggregations are a common feature of many species although for most taxa, the mechanisms underlying these aggregations are poorly understood. The Augrabies Flat Lizard (Platysaurus broadleyi) is a sexually dimorphic lizard that experiences intense conflict as a result of sexual selection. In the wild, P. broadleyi share communal crevices and aggregate in the presence of large insect plumes. We experimentally tested whether lizards aggregate as a result of social factors. We also tested whether aggregative behavior differed between the sexes and depends on density. We found no evidence that Augrabies Flat Lizards preferentially group for social reasons in the absence of resources or thermoregulatory benefits. This was true for both sexes and at both densities (two-lizard and four-lizard trials). Although social factors did not promote grouping, males sheltered alone significantly more often than expected by chance, suggesting that males actively avoid one another. Therefore, social factors may work to promote social isolation rather than aggregation, under certain circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-359
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Herpetology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007
Externally publishedYes


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