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Title: Some aspects of the behavior of the West African lizard Agama agama
Author: Harris, V. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 7711
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1957
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A field study of the behaviour and bioeconomics of the West African lizard Agama agama agama L., has been made at Ibadan, Nigeria. A marking method, depending upon individual variation of colour pattern. has been used to establish identities in the field. The overt, diurnal habits of this lizard together, with its preference for human habitations, make it an ideal subject for study. The males exhibit a marked territorial behaviour during the breeding season, which resembles that of passerine birds more closely than that of any other species of lizard so far described. The Territories are well defined, and are only defended against intrusion of other adult males; females and juveniles are tolerated in the territory. An essential element of male fighting is colour change : this is also accompanied by various displays. The tail alone is used as the offensive weapon in actual combat. Female fighting is directed at establishing a hierarchy. The spacing of territories is dependent upon the general, configuration of' the environment and the availability of suitable sites for colonization. The major function of territorial behaviour in this species appears to be the acquisition of a mate and maintaining the sexual bond during the breeding season. Colouration fulfils several functions. The light and dark reticulate colour phases, and possibly the reproductive colouration of males, is considered to be of importance in thermoregulation. Threat colouration is important in territorial behaviour as an element of fighting. The brightest hues are displayed in the reproductive colour phase. This colouration is of importance in advertising ownership of territory, and possibly has an attractive influence on the female. It is the colouration in which mating takes place. Sex discrimination in Agama agama agama is based upon the marked sexual dichromatism of these lizards, and does not involve any form of recognition display. Colour plays an important part in the stimulus situation releasing certain aspects of territorial and courtship behaviour. An attempt has been made to show how these two aspects of the lizard behaviour consist of a chain of activities, each section of which requires its own specific releaser.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available