Record Details

Alberts, Allison C
Dominance hierarchies in male lizards: implications for zoo management programs
Zoo Biology
Journal Article
Amblyrhynchus sp.;Ctenosaura sp.;Conolophus sp.;Cyclura sp.;Iguana sp.;Sauromalus sp.;Cyclura carinata;Cyclura nubila;Ctenosaura hemilopha;Iguana iguana
Depending on spatial requirements and the distribution of key resources in the environment, social behavior among lizards varies from defense of exclusive territories to the establishment of dominance hierarchies. In captivity or under conditions where dispersal is not possible, dominance hierarchies often emerge in species that are otherwise territorial. This review explores some of the morphological, behavioral, and hormonal determinants of social status in male lizards and how these may lead to differential reproductive function in dominant and subordinate individuals. Emphasis is placed on the importance of population density, local resource dispersion, and the composition and stability of social groups in promoting hierarchical behavior. Results of these studies have ramifications for several aspects of zoo management, including exhibit design, choice of animals to be housed together, provision of resources in space and time, and orientation of enclosures within captive breeding facilities.