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Mate familiarity and social learning in a monogamous lizard

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Munch, KL, Noble, DWA, Wapstra, E ORCID: 0000-0002-2050-8026 and While, GM ORCID: 0000-0001-8122-9322 2018 , 'Mate familiarity and social learning in a monogamous lizard' , Oecologia, vol. 188, no. 1 , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.1007/s00442-018-4153-z.

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Abstract

Social learning is thought to be advantageous as it allows an animal to gather information quickly without engaging in costly trial-and-error learning. However, animals should be selective about when and whom they learn from. Familiarity is predicted to positively inluence an animal’s reliance on social learning; yet, few studies have empirically tested this theory. We used a lizard (Liopholis whitii) that forms long-term monogamous pair bonds to examine the efects of partner familiarity on social learning in two novel foraging tasks, an association and reversal task. We allowed female lizards to observe trained conspeciics that were either familiar (social mate) or unfamiliar execute these tasks and compared these two groups with control females that did not receive social information. Lizards preferentially relied on trial-and-error learning in the association task. In the reversal task, lizards that were demonstrated by familiar partners learnt in fewer trials compared to control lizards and made more correct choices. Our results provide some evidence for context-dependent learning with lizards diferentiating between when they utilize social learning, and, to a limited degree, whom they learnt from. Understanding the role of the social context in which learning occurs provides important insight into the beneits of social learning and sociality more generally.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Munch, KL and Noble, DWA and Wapstra, E and While, GM
Keywords: cognition, social learning, familiarity, reptiles, egernia
Journal or Publication Title: Oecologia
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISSN: 0029-8549
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s00442-018-4153-z
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature

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