n African Journal of Herpetology - The Madagascan spiny-tailed iguana alters the sequence of anti-predator responses depending on predator types

Volume 61, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2156-4574
  • E-ISSN: 2153-3660
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Some prey are able to avoid specific predators by altering defensive behaviours depending on predator type. In the Ampijoroa forest of Ankarafantsika National Park in Madagascar, Madagascan spiny-tailed iguanas () inhabit a species rich vertebrate community and are exposed to multiple potential predators, such as raptors and snakes. We examined the response of wild iguanas to visual stimuli of avian and serpent predators by presenting iguanas with either a hawk or snake model. In most cases, the iguanas fled following contact with the hawk model. Exposure to the snake model also mostly resulted in the iguanas fleeing, but this response was preceded by other behaviours (e.g. push-up and dewlapping) that were not exhibited in response to the hawk model. Our results suggest that the spiny-tailed iguana adaptively alters anti-predator responses depending on the hunting methods and risk level of the immediate predators.

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