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Courtship and mating behaviours of two syntopic species of skink (Plestiodon anthracinus and Plestiodon fasciatus)

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

Courtship and mating behaviours are widely conserved throughout the scincid lizard genus Plestiodon, and ethological isolation between closely related species depends heavily on differentiating chemical cues. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not subtle, as yet undetected differences are present in the mating behaviours of two syntopic, distantly related skinks, P. anthracinus and P. fasciatus. Observed courtship and mating behaviours were similar between the two species and to those reported for other species within this genus. However, survival analysis determined significant interspecific differences in the duration of pre-coital behaviours. Investigation of such subtle differences between species more closely related than these two may generate further insights into the evolution of ethological isolating mechanisms in lizards.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Piedmont College, PO Box 10, Demorest, GA 30535, USA; Department of Biology, City University of New York, College of Staten Island, NY 10314, USA; 2: Department of Biology, Piedmont College, PO Box 10, Demorest, GA 30535, USA


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