The territorial behavior of the western fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis

L. A. Sheldahl, Emilia Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study, we investigated the territorial behavior of Sceloporus occidentalis by focusing on three questions: do individuals of S. occidentalis (1) exhibit site-fidelity, (2) defend the site with aggressive behavior, and (3) maintain exclusive use of the defended area? Spatial distributions and aggressive behavior were studied in two natural populations. We also used a small arena to observe aggressive behavior in paired interactions. Repeatability analysis revealed that individuals of S. occidentalis maintain home ranges of similar areas and in similar locations across years. While lizards use pushup displays to delimit territories that are approximately 61% of total home range area, overt aggression (e.g., chases, bites) was infrequent. Furthermore, lizards maintained exclusive use of only a small proportion of their defended areas. We discuss our results in the context of what it means to be "territorial".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-479
Number of pages11
JournalHerpetologica
Volume56
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Sceloporus occidentalis
lizard
aggression
home range
lizards
site fidelity
philopatry
repeatability
spatial distribution

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Behavior
  • Communication
  • Home range
  • Lizard
  • Pushup Display
  • Sceloporus
  • Territory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

The territorial behavior of the western fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis. / Sheldahl, L. A.; Martins, Emilia.

In: Herpetologica, Vol. 56, No. 4, 01.12.2000, p. 469-479.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{318fcce35240474eb7aa6c2ccfa503e3,
title = "The territorial behavior of the western fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis",
abstract = "In this study, we investigated the territorial behavior of Sceloporus occidentalis by focusing on three questions: do individuals of S. occidentalis (1) exhibit site-fidelity, (2) defend the site with aggressive behavior, and (3) maintain exclusive use of the defended area? Spatial distributions and aggressive behavior were studied in two natural populations. We also used a small arena to observe aggressive behavior in paired interactions. Repeatability analysis revealed that individuals of S. occidentalis maintain home ranges of similar areas and in similar locations across years. While lizards use pushup displays to delimit territories that are approximately 61{\%} of total home range area, overt aggression (e.g., chases, bites) was infrequent. Furthermore, lizards maintained exclusive use of only a small proportion of their defended areas. We discuss our results in the context of what it means to be {"}territorial{"}.",
keywords = "Aggression, Behavior, Communication, Home range, Lizard, Pushup Display, Sceloporus, Territory",
author = "Sheldahl, {L. A.} and Emilia Martins",
year = "2000",
month = "12",
day = "1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "56",
pages = "469--479",
journal = "Herpetologica",
issn = "0018-0831",
publisher = "Herpetologist's League Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The territorial behavior of the western fence lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis

AU - Sheldahl, L. A.

AU - Martins, Emilia

PY - 2000/12/1

Y1 - 2000/12/1

N2 - In this study, we investigated the territorial behavior of Sceloporus occidentalis by focusing on three questions: do individuals of S. occidentalis (1) exhibit site-fidelity, (2) defend the site with aggressive behavior, and (3) maintain exclusive use of the defended area? Spatial distributions and aggressive behavior were studied in two natural populations. We also used a small arena to observe aggressive behavior in paired interactions. Repeatability analysis revealed that individuals of S. occidentalis maintain home ranges of similar areas and in similar locations across years. While lizards use pushup displays to delimit territories that are approximately 61% of total home range area, overt aggression (e.g., chases, bites) was infrequent. Furthermore, lizards maintained exclusive use of only a small proportion of their defended areas. We discuss our results in the context of what it means to be "territorial".

AB - In this study, we investigated the territorial behavior of Sceloporus occidentalis by focusing on three questions: do individuals of S. occidentalis (1) exhibit site-fidelity, (2) defend the site with aggressive behavior, and (3) maintain exclusive use of the defended area? Spatial distributions and aggressive behavior were studied in two natural populations. We also used a small arena to observe aggressive behavior in paired interactions. Repeatability analysis revealed that individuals of S. occidentalis maintain home ranges of similar areas and in similar locations across years. While lizards use pushup displays to delimit territories that are approximately 61% of total home range area, overt aggression (e.g., chases, bites) was infrequent. Furthermore, lizards maintained exclusive use of only a small proportion of their defended areas. We discuss our results in the context of what it means to be "territorial".

KW - Aggression

KW - Behavior

KW - Communication

KW - Home range

KW - Lizard

KW - Pushup Display

KW - Sceloporus

KW - Territory

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0034493429&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0034493429&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0034493429

VL - 56

SP - 469

EP - 479

JO - Herpetologica

JF - Herpetologica

SN - 0018-0831

IS - 4

ER -