The function of tail displays in male rainbow skinks (Carlia jarnoldae)

Tracy Langkilde, Lin Schwarzkopf, Ross A. Alford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A single display may be used in more than one context and, as such, may convey different information to different receivers. Tail displays in lizards are often performed in several contexts, and appear to have many functions that vary both within and between species. We examined the function of tail displays in a small scincid lizard, Carlia jarnoldae, capable of tail autotomy. We quantified the use of these displays by resident males by observing them in one of four controlled contexts: alone, with a conspecific male, with a conspecific female, or with a predator. We also compared the number of resident versus intruder males that performed tail displays. We found that resident males performed tail displays in all experimental contexts, but most frequently in the presence of a conspecific male and a predator. In contrast, intruder males almost never performed tail displays. The results suggest that tail displays may play important roles in male social interactions and in signaling to predators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-328
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Herpetology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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