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Run to shelter or bury into the sand? Factors affecting escape behaviour decisions in Argentinian sand dune lizards (Liolaemus multimaculatus)

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The goal of this study was to assess the main factors affecting escape strategies (escaping or sand burying) in sand dune lizards (Liolaemus multimaculatus). We recorded body size, substrate temperature, approach distance and shelter distance in the field, and performed an enclosure experiment to test whether mimicked predator types (aerial or terrestrial) affect escape behaviour. The frequency of sand-burying behaviour increased with distance to shelter (represented by patches of bunch grass; logistic regression, P<0.001), which was the single significant predictor of the escape strategy chosen. However, in enclosure experiments the escape strategies adopted by lizards did not depend on predator type (contingency tables, P=0.62).
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Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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