Learning from others: an invasive lizard uses social information from both conspecifics and heterospecifics

Isabel Damas-Moreira, Daniel Oliveira, Joana L. Santos, Julia L. Riley, D. James Harris, Martin J. Whiting

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Species that are able to solve novel problems through social learning from either a conspecific or a heterospecific may gain a significant advantage in new environments. We tested the ability of a highly successful invasive species, the Italian wall lizard Podarcis sicula, to solve a novel foraging task when social information was available from both a conspecific and an unfamiliar heterospecific (Podarcis bocagei). We found that Italian wall lizards that had access to social information made fewer errors, regardless of whether the demonstrator was a conspecific or a heterospecific, compared to Italian wall lizards that individually learnt the same task. We suggest that social learning could be a previously underappreciated, advantageous mechanism facilitating invasions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20180532
    Pages (from-to)1-5
    Number of pages5
    JournalBiology Letters
    Volume14
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

    Keywords

    • Podarcis sicula
    • biological invasions
    • social learning
    • heterospecific learning
    • cognition

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