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Chemosensory responses to alcohols found in femoral gland secretions of male Iberian wall lizards Podarcis hispanica

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In lizards, femoral gland secretions of males can have an important role in intraspecific communication. However, the chemosensory responses of lizards to specific compounds found in femoral secretions have been little studied. Steroids are the most abundant compounds in secretions, which have been shown to have a signalling function. However, other type of compounds might also be important. In this paper, we explored the role of alcohols in communication of Iberian wall lizards, Podarcis hispanica. We studied chemosensory behaviour, by measuring tongue flick rates, to test whether lizards could recognize several alcohols that are naturally found in femoral secretions. Results showed that lizards can discriminate and show chemosensory responses of different magnitude to different alcohols. The existence of high responses to alcohols suggest that, in addition to steroids, alcohols may also have a signalling function in femoral secretions of male P. hispanica lizards.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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