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Absence of kin discrimination in the hatchlings of a lizard, Calotes versicolor (Agamidae)

In: Animal Biology
Authors:
Veena H.F. Ammanna Department of Zoology, Karnatak University, Dharwad-580 003, India

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Srinivas K. Saidapur Department of Zoology, Karnatak University, Dharwad-580 003, India

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Bhagyashri A. Shanbhag Department of Zoology, Karnatak University, Dharwad-580 003, India

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Laboratory born Calotes versicolor hatchlings were reared for 15 days in pure or mixed sibships or singly in isolation and then tested for their kin discrimination ability. As C. versicolor orients itself visually, visual displays like push-ups, gular extensions, and distance between the test individuals were used as indicators of arousal/aggression towards the opponents (familiar vs. familiar/unfamiliar sib or non-sib). The hatchlings exhibited aggressiveness towards unfamiliar sibs as well as non-sibs in the form of push-ups and gular extensions; they also remained at a longer distance from each other. In contrast, they did not exhibit such behaviors against familiar individuals regardless of their relatedness, and stayed closer to each other. In tests involving once familiar individuals, sib, or non-sib reared together for 15 d from hatching and then separated for 7 or 30 d, the lizards showed aggressiveness towards each other following 30 d separation. A greater number of push-ups and gular extensions were exhibited by the test individuals after 30 d separation compared to those separated for 7 d. Thus, in this non-social lizard, there is no kin discrimination. An early dispersal of hatchlings in this species may have led to a loss of kin discrimination. However, familiar individuals are recognized as long as they continue to remain familiar thereby suggesting a ‘dear enemy phenomenon’.

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