Learning ability is unaffected by isolation rearing in a family-living lizard
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The social environment during development can affect learning; for example, raising an obligate social mammal in isolation can hinder their learning ability. However, we know little about how the social environment impacts learning in less-studied, facultatively social taxa, like family-living lizards. We reared tree skinks (Egernia striolata) in two treatments, either with a conspecific or in isolation. We used three tasks to quantify skink learning ability (motor, discrimination, and reversal). Skinks performed these tasks under two learning treatments: either after demonstration (social learning) or without social information (individual learning). We did not find any evidence that tree skinks used social information. The majority of skinks learnt our motor (91%) and discrimination tasks (100%), and a third learnt our reversal task (34%). Contrary to our predictions, and the majority of previous literature, we detected no negative effect of rearing treatment on learning in any task. Our surprising findings are likely due to this skink’s variable social system, and we suggest that birds and mammals with facultative sociality may not be affected by isolation rearing in the same way as taxa with obligate sociality.
Riley , J L , Küchler , A , Damasio , T , Noble , D W A , Byrne , R W & Whiting , M J 2018 , ' Learning ability is unaffected by isolation rearing in a family-living lizard ' , Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology , vol. 72 , 20 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-017-2435-9
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-017-2435-9
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