Male sagebrush lizards (Sceloporus graciosus) increase exploratory behavior toward females with more courtship experience

Mayté Ruiz, Zachary M. Beals, Emília P. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Courtship is an essential component to male reproductive success. Most males must identify and court appropriate females to enhance their fitness. At the same time, female reproductive state and investment is influenced by the quality of male courtship. In this experiment, we test whether the amount of female courtship experience influences the behavior of males interacting with those females in sagebrush lizards, Sceloporus graciosus. We used a robotic lizard to present male courtship displays to females, presenting females with displays either every other day (low quantity) or four times daily (high quantity). After 2 wk of courtship experience, we placed a live male into the home terrarium of each female and recorded interactions for 30 min, scoring both male and female behavior from these recordings. Males exhibited more movements and chemoreceptive behavior toward females that had received more courtship experience, showing that they could detect an effect. We did not detect any difference in female behavior between groups. Future work is needed to identify physiological differences between females differing in courtship experience. Our study also confirms the utility of a robotic lizard in understanding lizard behavior and expands the use of robotic stimuli outside of the context of playback experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-147
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Female receptivity
  • Intra-specific communication
  • Reproductive state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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