Effects of early social isolation on the behaviour and performance of juvenile lizards, Chamaeleo calyptratus

Cissy Ballen*, Richard Shine, Mats Olsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although reptiles have traditionally been viewed as asocial, the recent discovery of complex social systems in lizards suggests that an animal's social behaviour may be shaped by its interactions with conspecifics early in life, as occurs in endothermic vertebrates. We reared hatchling veiled chameleons, Chamaeleo calyptratus, either in isolation or in groups of four, using a split-clutch design. Social interactions during the first 2 months of life substantially affected a chameleon's subsequent responses to newly encountered conspecifics in standardized trials: animals reared in isolation were more submissive, and adopted darker and duller colours. Isolation-reared lizards also performed less well in a foraging task. Thus, social isolation early in life can impair the development of squamate reptiles, as it does in mammals and birds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume88
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • colour
  • lizard
  • ontogeny of social behaviour
  • social flexibility
  • social isolation

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