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 journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


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
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


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

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