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Lizards’ lifespan influences their society, MSU research

Lizards’ lifespan influences their society, MSU research

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Date : Aug 15, 2017 05:59 PM

The shorter the lifespan, the more primitive the society

Researchers at the Moscow State University (MSU) have discovered that less long-lived lizards have very primitive society rules compared to more long-lived lizards. The observation confirmed the assumption that the structure of the society often depends on the individuals` lifespan.

For two seasons scientists have observed the behavior of small skinks — lizards that inhabit the Vietnam tropical forests. The skinks have a short lifespan. Researchers marked different individuals and it gave the opportunity to observe the lizards` movements and interaction, the University press service reported.

Due to the observation, scientists found out that skinks have a primitive hierarchical structure. Lizards hunt on the 50-120 m2 territory. Some of them sometimes intersect. According to the research, the lizards` behavior during the courtship and conflicts can be difficult to distinguish.

«Hierarchy — the only kind of relationship formed in the group of the studied skinks. What is more, this is the hierarchy of dominance, because animals really come to fight, and not just threatened or avoid. Actually, such behavior is not typical of lizards, even small ones», — explained Eduard Galoyan, the employee of the MSU Zoological Museum.

Scientists consider that the structure of society is explained by small lifespan, that is why skinks have an unstable society and have no continuity of generations.

«Birds and mammals have certain complexity with necessity to care for an offspring. Hence, there are long-term relationships. Even organisms with a short lifespan have rather complex structure. In general, the idea of connection between the speed of life and the complexity of the structure of society was first expressed precisely in mammals. Reptiles are not burdened with these duties and, therefore, they are a more blessed object», — said Eduard Galoyan. The results of the study are published in Amphibia — Reptilia magazine.

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