Sources of pheromones in the lizard Liolaemus tenuis

Antonieta Labra, Carlos A. Escobar, Paz M. Aguilar, Hermann M. Niemeyer

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental tests were conducted with the lizard Liolaemus tenuis (Tropiduridae), to determine the potential sources of pheromones used in its chemical communication, centered in the phenomenon of self-recognition. During the post-reproductive season, feces of both sexes and secretions of precloacal pores (present only in males) were tested. Stimuli were presented to lizards spread on rocks, and the number of tongue-flicks (TF) to the rocks was used as a bioassay to determine pheromone recognition. Feces contained pheromones involved in self-recognition, since lizards showed less TF confronted to rocks with suspensions of their own feces than with suspensions of feces of conspecifics or with water (control). In order to assess the chemical nature of self-recognition pheromones, feces were submitted to a sequential extraction with three solvents of increasing polarity, thereby obtaining three feces fractions. There were no differences in TF towards rocks with different fractions with own feces. Additionally, lizards showed similar TF to rocks with fractions of own and conspecific feces, suggesting that the separation procedure broke up a complex stimulus into parts that were not active individually as pheromones. Finally, males did not discriminate between precloacal secretions from themselves and from another male. It is possible that these secretions convey information relevant to or detectable by females only.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalRevista Chilena de Historia Natural
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002


  • Chemical discrimination
  • Liolaemus
  • Lizards
  • Precloacal secretions
  • Self-recognition
  • Semiochemicals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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