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Movement-based signalling by four species of dragon lizard (family Agamidae) from the Kimberley region of Western Australia

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-05-12, 01:00 authored by Richard PetersRichard Peters, Jordan De Jong, Jose RamosJose Ramos
Communication signals underpin the social lives of animals, from species recognition to mate selection and territory defense. Animal signals are diverse in structure between and within species, with the diversity reflecting interacting factors of shared evolutionary history, constraints imposed on senders and receivers and the ecological context in which signalling takes place. The dragon lizards of Australia (family Agamidae) are known for their movement-based visual displays and are useful models for how ecology influences behaviour. However, we know little about the communication strategies of many species. Our aim here was to provide new knowledge on some of these species, focusing on the north-west of Western Australia. We filmed within-species pairwise interactions of Diporiphora superba, D. bennetti, D. sobria and Ctenophorus isolepis isolepis. We describe and quantify for the first time push-up displays by D. superba and C. isolepis isolepis and tail waving displays of D. bennetti. Only D. sobria did not generate movement-based visual signals. We have confirmed that more species engage in such behaviour than previously reported, but further work is required to document the full repertoire of these species. The implications of our work are discussed in the context of signal structure, function and environmental context.


Publication Date



Australian Journal of Zoology






10p. (p. 102-111)





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© 2021 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).