Males of several species of lizards have been found to discriminate against familiar females by exhibiting a preference to court and mate with unfamiliar females. Here, I tested the hypothesis that prior physical contact with familiar females is necessary for males to court unfamiliar females more intensely than familiar females and to mate preferentially with unfamiliar females in the brown anole, A. sagrei. Recently captured male and female lizards were randomly paired and assigned to either an experimental group or a control group. Males in the experimental group could see their female cage mates but were prevented from having physical contact with them by housing the female in a small glass cage located within the male's cage. Males in the control group could see their female cage mates and were not prevented from having physical contact with them. Paired males and females were housed together for 14 days. Beginning on day 15, males in the two treatment groups were exposed to either their female cage mates or to previously unseen unfamiliar females and their courtship behavior recorded. Several days after the courtship tests the mating preferences of males were examined by exposing each male to its female cage mate and an unfamiliar female. Males in the experimental group did not court unfamiliar females significantly differently than female cage mates in the courtship tests or mate preferentially with unfamiliar females in the mating tests. Males in the control group, on the other hand, courted unfamiliar females significantly more intensely than female cage mates in the courtship tests and mated preferentially with unfamiliar females in the mating tests. These findings support the hypothesis that in A. sagrei prior physical contact with familiar females is necessary for males to court unfamiliar females more intensely than familiar females and to mate preferentially with unfamiliar females.
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