AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIORS AND THEIR EFFECT ON RESOURCE USE BY MALE LITTLE BROWN SKINKS, SCINCELLA LATERALIS

  • Mark Paulissen
  • Laura Myers

Abstract

The aggressive behaviors of adult male Little Brown Skinks, Scincella lateralis, and their effects on access to an important resource (a single retreat) were the subject of a study consisting of 10 laboratory trials in which the behavioral interactions between a pair of individuals was recorded. Analysis of these interactions made it possible to identify a dominant and a subordinate male in each trial; the male with the greater bulk was dominant in 9 of the 10 trials. Aggressive behaviors recorded include lunging, chasing, and biting; the dominant male performed lunging significantly more often than the subordinate male and was the only individual to exhibit chasing. The most common behavior recorded was avoidance which was shown almost exclusively by the subordinate male. Both dominant and subordinate males exhibited tail twitching which we hypothesize to be a sign of agitation. The two males spent significantly more time on opposite sides of the observation chamber than on the same side and almost never occupied the single retreat simultaneously because the subordinate male repeatedly moved to avoid the dominant male. The implications of these results on spacing patterns and resource use of Scincella lateralis in the wild are discussed.

Published
2017-03-29