Increased tail length in the King's skink, Egernia kingii (Reptilia: Scincidae): An anti-predation tactic for juveniles?
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Caudal autotomy is an adaptive, but costly, anti-predation strategy used by many lizard species. As predation risk varies with ontogenetic life stage, it can be predicted that the use of costly anti-predation mechanisms would also change if they are no longer required. Here we assess ontogenetic change in relative tail length and degree of caudal autotomy in the King's skink (Egernia kingii), a large skink endemic to Western Australia. We found that younger individuals invested more in relative tail length compared to older individuals, with younger individuals also having a higher degree of their tail consisting of regenerated tissue. This appears to reflect an ontogenetic shift in the risk of predation for this species, with larger, more mature individuals capable of actively defending themselves against certain predator types and therefore decreasing their reliance on a costly anti-predation strategy compared to juveniles.
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Barr, James ; Boisvert, Catherine ; Somaweera, R.; Trinajstic, Kate ; Bateman, Bill (2019)© 2019, The Author(s). Many species of lizard use caudal autotomy, the ability to self-amputate a portion of their tail, regenerated over time, as an effective anti-predation mechanism. The importance of this tactic for ...
Adaptive ecology of the King’s skink, Egernia kingii, in response to varying levels of predation risk, with a focus on caudal autotomyBarr, James Ian (2020)Anti-predation strategies allow individuals to avoid death but can be costly to the individual. As predation pressure changes ontogenetically, temporally and evolutionarily, so do costly anti-predation strategies to ...
When one tail isn't enough: abnormal caudal regeneration in lepidosaurs and its potential ecological impactsBarr, James ; Somaweera, R.; Godfrey, S.S.; Gardner, M.G.; Bateman, Bill (2020)Abnormal caudal regeneration, the production of additional tails through regeneration events, occurs in lepidosaurs as a result of incomplete autotomy or sufficient caudal wound. Despite being widely known to occur, ...