Antipredator behaviour of old-world tropical lizard, common agama Agama agama, in an urban environment

In: Amphibia-Reptilia

Abstract

Escape behaviour is a common antipredator strategy of lizards. Here, we studied the effect of several variables predicted to have a potential effect on escape behaviour of lizards. Specifically, we measured the effects of starting distance (SD), distance to cover, sex–age and the observer’s head orientation on flight initiation distance (FID) in the common agama Agama agama. Agamas were approached in urban localities in Limbe city, Cameroon, where they were habituated to the presence of humans. We found no association between FID and SD, but individuals closer to potential cover had shorter FID than individuals farther from a refuge. Juveniles escaped later than adults, but no significant differences were found in the FID between adult males and females. Head direction of the approaching observer had no effect on FID. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first study investigating factors affecting FID in common agamas, extending our knowledge of risk-related behaviour in lizards of the Old World tropics.

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