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Individual, sexual, seasonal, and temporal variation in the amount of sagebrush lizard scent marks.

Authors
Martins-EP; Ord-TJ; Slaven-J; Wright-JL; Housworth-EA
Source
J Chem Ecol 2006 Apr; 32(4):881-893
NIOSHTIC No.
20030363
Abstract
Although many animals deposit scent marks, previous studies have focused almost entirely on rodents or on the chemical structure of the signal. Here, we study the quantity and temporal pattern of chemical deposition by the territorial sagebrush lizard Sceloporus graciosus, measuring both femoral pore and fecal deposits. Specifically, we tested whether variation in deposition is a good cue of individual and sexual identity and/or whether it is more closely associated with body size and reproductive state, indicators of physiological condition. The results support the latter hypothesis. We found that although the amount of fluid deposited on a single perch (rarely quantified in mammals) carries little information on individual or sexual identity, it reflects the physiological condition and reproductive state of individual lizards and is replenished on a roughly weekly cycle, potentially providing additional information on the producer's activity level. The amount of deposition may thus provide important information to chemical receivers making mate choice and territorial defense decisions. The results further suggest that seasonal increases in gland production allow lizards to mark more sites rather than to influence the quality of the signal on a single perch.
Keywords
Animals; Animal-studies; Rodents; Chemical-structure; Chemical-deposition; Physiological-factors; Sexual-reproduction; Behavior; Behavior-patterns
CODEN
JCECD8
Publication Date
20060401
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
emartins@indiana.edu
Fiscal Year
2006
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
4
ISSN
0098-0331
NIOSH Division
HELD
Source Name
Journal of Chemical Ecology
State
WV; IN
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