Chemical communication, a lesser known fact about animals  


For the first time, lizards are found to produce repeated chemical signals, especially to attract the other mate. Chemical signals between animals were less known and a few studies held.

Until now, Researchers concentrated mainly on the sounds and visual presence of animal and birds. Now a research group from Washington University in St. Louis has revealed that lizards produce chemical calling cards. The chemical signals between animals are less obvious to humans. Moreover they are also technically complex to resolve.

Lead author Colin Donihue said that the chemical signals varied depending on the context such as who wants to compete, who wants to mate and who is trying to eat. Donihue is a post doctoral fellow in biology at the Washington University.

Animal Ecology journal pubished the study. Lizards and snakes collect chemical cues from their surroundings by flicking out forked tongues. They process these with a sensory organ in the roof of their mouths. Lizards deposit their chemical messages encoded in secretions, the study said. These are waxy lipid compound that has all details about the lizard that produced them, the study paper said.

The researchers relocated eight male and 12 female Aegean wall lizards from a single source population in Naxos, Greece to five small islets that had no predators. The researchers saw that the lizard population drastically increased. The relocated lizards were individually tagged. Over the next four years, Donihue and the team found that lizards rapidly and repeatedly developed a new chemical “mix”.

Donihue said that animals developed complex chemical communication library millions of years ago. However, human beings invented the technology to identify many of those chemicals only a century ago.



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