Section 13
Chapter 12,529

Roles of visual, acoustic, and chemical signals in social interactions of the tropical house gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia)

Regalado, R.

Caribbean Journal of Science 39(3): 307-320


ISSN/ISBN: 0008-6452
Accession: 012528788

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Interactions within pairs of tropical house geckos, Hemidactylus mabouia, were staged in captivity to describe its repertoire of social behavior and to uncover cues used in sex recognition. The repertoire of social behaviors was similar in both sexes, but behavioral profiles were different. Comparison of rates of behaviors and sequential analysis provided evidence for roles of behaviors and identified males' discriminant behaviors toward both sexes. Multiple chirp calls were indicative of male sex, occurred mainly during courtship, and were usually preceded by chemosensory behaviors. An arched back was the signal that typified male-male fights. Courtship posture (stereotyped head lifting) was the only exclusive female visual signal. In response to chemical cues, males showed courtship behaviors in female-scented cages but agonistic behaviors in male-scented cages. Subsequently, after tongue-flicking, males behaved in accord with the real sex of conspecifics. I suggest that adaptation to nocturnal vision has constrained the evolution of fast movement as visual signals and favored the evolution of postures instead.

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