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Mate familiarity and social learning in a monogamous lizard


Munch, KL and Noble, DWA and Wapstra, E and While, GM, Mate familiarity and social learning in a monogamous lizard, Oecologia, 188, (1) pp. 1-10. ISSN 0029-8549 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00442-018-4153-z


Social learning is thought to be advantageous as it allows an animal to gather information quickly without engaging in costly trial-and-error learning. However, animals should be selective about when and whom they learn from. Familiarity is predicted to positively inluence an animalís reliance on social learning; yet, few studies have empirically tested this theory. We used a lizard (Liopholis whitii) that forms long-term monogamous pair bonds to examine the efects of partner familiarity on social learning in two novel foraging tasks, an association and reversal task. We allowed female lizards to observe trained conspeciics that were either familiar (social mate) or unfamiliar execute these tasks and compared these two groups with control females that did not receive social information. Lizards preferentially relied on trial-and-error learning in the association task. In the reversal task, lizards that were demonstrated by familiar partners learnt in fewer trials compared to control lizards and made more correct choices. Our results provide some evidence for context-dependent learning with lizards diferentiating between when they utilize social learning, and, to a limited degree, whom they learnt from. Understanding the role of the social context in which learning occurs provides important insight into the beneits of social learning and sociality more generally.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cognition, social learning, familiarity, reptiles, egernia
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Munch, KL (Ms Kirke Munch)
UTAS Author:Noble, DWA (Dr Dan Noble)
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Associate Professor Erik Wapstra)
UTAS Author:While, GM (Dr Geoff While)
ID Code:125793
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2018-05-05
Last Modified:2019-03-05
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