Morphological traits affect escape behaviour of the Balearic lizards (Podarcis lilfordi)

Dror Hawlena*, Valentín Pérez-Mellado, William E. Cooper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Escape theory predicts that a prey should start escaping (flight initiation distance = FID) from a predator when the costs of fleeing and the cost staying are equal or until future fitness is maximized. Consequently, prey escape performances and current reproductive asset can affect FID. We tested effects of body condition, morphology, and whether the tail was regenerated or original on FID in the Balearic lizard (Podarcis lilfordi) by ourselves simulating predators. Lizards with better body condition had longer FID and lizards with longer intact tails had shorter FID. Lizards with regenerated tail presented shorter FID than lizards with intact tails. These results suggest that impaired escape performance is counterbalanced by fitness costs of tail regeneration or by alteration of escape behaviour. The weak association between morphology, body condition and FID suggest that escape performances and asset protection have relatively small effect on P. lilfordi escape decisions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)587-592
Number of pages6
JournalAmphibia - Reptilia
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. This work was partially supported by grant REN2003 08432 CO2 02 and CGL2006-10893-CO2-02 from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science to V.P.M., by the Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Fellowship to D.H., and by the Pippert Research Scholar award to W.E.C.


  • Antipredatory behaviour
  • Escape
  • Flight initiation distance
  • Predation risk
  • Refuge
  • Squamata


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