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Territorial behaviour in southern red-backed and Ozark zigzag salamanders: effects of sex, species and ownership

In: Behaviour
Authors:
Colton S. Lynn Department of Biology, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, USA

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Benjamin Dalton Department of Biology, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, USA

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Alicia Mathis Department of Biology, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, USA

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Abstract

When both males and females are territorial, spatial and aggressive behaviour can vary between the sexes. We examined differences in exploratory and competitive behaviour between males and females and residents and intruders of two species, the Ozark zigzag (P. angusticlavius) and southern red-backed (P. serratus) salamanders. For exploratory behaviour, males and females differed in distance traveled based on species, but females of both species were significantly more cautious than males about leaving territories. In competition trials, male and female territory residents (owners) did not differ in defensive behaviour, but female intruders were more aggressive than male intruders. Overall, P. angusticlavius showed more aggressive behaviour, explored more, and were less cautious about leaving territories than P. serratus. Female intruders of both species fight harder, potentially to gain territories, and are more cautious about leaving territories, which may indicate that the cost of not having a territory is greater for females.

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