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Interspecific Odour Discriminations Among Syntopic Congeners in Scincid Lizards (Genus Eumeces)

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In a successive discrimination experiment several odours were presented to male Eumeces fasciatus on cotton-tipped applicators. The males displayed higher tongue-flick rates during a 60 second interval when responding to cloacal odours of conspecific females than to cloacal odours of females belonging to two very closely related species in the fasciatus group of Eumeces, water, or a pungency control. Similarly, male E. inexpectatus emitted higher tongue-flick rates to cloacal odors of conspecific females than to those of female E. fasciatus. Because male E. laticeps, which can follow female scent trails, also can discriminate conspecific from heterospecific female odors and because all three of these lizards tongue-flick repeatedly at the outsets of potential social encounters, chemical signals appear to be a basis for important social discriminations in the fasciatusgroup.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, Alabama 36193; 2: Department of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024, U.S.A.


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