Cognition and learning have been widely studied in vertebrates, but not across much phylogenetic breadth. Non-avian reptiles, for example, have been poorly studied. Anecdotal observations and a few previous studies suggest that lizards may have strong cognitive skills owing, in part, to behaviors such as optimal foraging and territoriality. We tested four lizard species, including three species of monitor lizard (Varanus spp.) and one species of beaded lizard (Heloderma), in a longitudinal, repeated-trials experimental design using a puzzle-feeder device to evaluate learning, in the form of latency trends over time. We used a Bayesian multilevel modeling statistical method and incorporated unsuccessful trials as censored data. Collectively, all lizards showed a pattern of decreasing latencies over time. We interpret this pattern as learning among our lizards. Notable individual and inter-specific differences were evident, however, suggesting that learning abilities differed among the lizards. In this case, the monitor lizards exhibited steeper declines in latencies and greatly reduced inter-individual variation in comparison to the beaded lizards. Finally, we found differential use of the claws versus the snout among the lizards, which is consistent with a previously posed hypothesis based on different species than we measured.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 107 • No. 1