Stress‐induced changes in color expression mediated by iridophores in a polymorphic lizard
The ability to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics is important in territorial animals as it allows animals to distinguish neighbours from non-neighbours. This prevents wasting time and energy in unnecessary aggressive interactions. I investigated the ability of adult males of a territorial lizard, the tawny dragon (Ctenophorus decresii), to distinguish familiar from unfamiliar rivals in a laboratory setting. Males significantly reduced their aggression levels in repeat interactions with familiar rivals and increased their aggression levels towards unfamiliar males. The time taken for interactions to be settled was also significantly lower towards familiar than unfamiliar males. The results of this study suggest that adult male tawny dragons can discriminate familiar from unfamiliar conspecifics. Furthermore, animals were presented with three new rivals in succession and showed a robust ability to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar males.