Do lizard vocalizations differ between sexes and seasonality?

Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México
Raised of $2,445 Goal
Ended on 7/14/24
Campaign Ended
  • $55
  • 3%
  • Finished
    on 7/14/24

About This Project

The lizard, Aspidoscelis costatus costatus, emits vocalizations when captured. This project seeks to determine whether these calls differ between sexes due to seasonality. We will capture 25 individuals from either sex which vocalize during the wet and dry seasons. The spectro-temporal variables and rate of emission of the calls will be subjected to a statistical analysis. As these factors affect bird and mammal calls, we want to see if this is true for the species.

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What is the context of this research?

The Balsas Basin Whiptail (Aspidoscelis costatus costatus) is a moderately large, oviparous lizard native to the Mexican West (Gómez-Benítez et al. 2016). It currently is protected under Mexican laws (SEMARNAT 2010) and has a medium EVS (Wilson et al. 2013). A preliminary study in the species determined that vocal production was present after the lizards were seized or grasped (De La Rosa-Silva et al. 2023). As several factors could affect the vocalizations, most of which are unknown to us, we decided to explore whether sex and/or seasonality may impact them. For this purpose, the project will analyze the spectro-temporal variables (components of the vocalization) and rate of emission of the call, subjecting the data to a statistical analysis.

What is the significance of this project?

Historically, vocal sound production has been mainly studied in birds, mammals, and anurans (Köhler et al. 2017; Lewis et al. 2021), as it was believed that reptiles were a silent group. Nowadays, we know that all orders within make use of sound production (Colafrancesco and Gridi-Papp 2016; Capshaw et al. 2021). Still, many gaps in the knowledge of vocal production remain, especially within Order Squamata. While many investigations have been undertaken when it comes to the main vocal taxon of Squamata, Gekkota (Capshaw et al. 2021), few have focused on other lizard families (Russell and Bauer 2020). We think that our study will be an important step in better understanding lizard vocal production and behavior, as well as determining where vocalizations come from.

What are the goals of the project?

Our main goals are to determine if the components that constitute the call, as well as the number of vocalizations in Aspidoscelis costatus costatus, differ due to sex and/or seasonality. We also want to classify the calls with a larger pool of individuals. Our study will begin in September 2024. We will collect 25 individuals from either sex who vocalize in the field, and then stimulate them to call (as detailed by De La Rosa-Silva et al. 2023). The vocalizations will be taped by using a TASCAM Digital Recorder. Afterward, they will be explored through the program Raven Pro 1.6, to obtain its components. The data will be subjected to a statistical analysis to determine any statistical differences.


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Recently, our digital thermometer broke, thus, we were hoping to be able to replace it with the funding. A digital thermometer allows us to obtain accurate and quick temperature readings on the reptiles that we study. The TASCAM Portacapture is a digital recorder, which we hope will help us get better recordings of the lizard vocalizations. The area where we are conducting our investigation is somewhat far from our herpetological laboratory, and we travel through four government toll booths. Thus, we request funds for both liters of gasoline and the toll booth expenses that will be required. We are currently working as a team of five individuals in the field, thus procuring food for ourselves is important to have enough energy to capture the elusive Balsas Basin Whiptails in the field.

Endorsed by

I believe this project will advance the biology of lizards and their vocalizations

Project Timeline

We will carry out 15 samplings in total from September 2024 to June 2025. We will begin in September 2024, at the end of the wet season, continuing during November 2024, as the dry season commences. Then, we will resume until April and May 2025, doing our last foray at the start of the wet season, in July 2025. We expect to finish the analysis in December 2025. We plan to share our findings through updates and publish an article in an indexed journal.

Jun 14, 2024

Project Launched

Oct 01, 2024

Complete the first four samplings in September 2024

Dec 01, 2024

Complete two samplings in November 2024

Jun 01, 2025

Complete five samplings by May 2024

Aug 01, 2025

Finish the last four samplings during July 2025

Meet the Team

Edgar De La Rosa Silva
Edgar De La Rosa Silva


Doctor Oswaldo Hernández Gallegos and Doctor María Antonieta Labra Lillo
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Team Bio

Our team formed after Doctor Oswaldo Hernández Gallegos assisted a conference on the production of vocalizations by the Weeping Lizard (Liolaemus chiliensis), taught by Doctor Antonieta Labra Lillo. There, he suggested to me to investigate the vocalizations of Aspidoscelis costatus costatus, after he had noted that the lizards vocalized when having their biometric data taken. The rest is history, though we intend to fill in the gaps related to vocal production in lizards.

Edgar De La Rosa Silva

Edgar de la Rosa-Silva is a Biologist at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Toluca City, México. While enrolled in an individualized class conducted in the laboratory of Oswaldo Hernández Gallegos, he also helped with research projects. He has participated in herpetological conferences and is a member of the Red de Investigación y Divulgación de Anfibios y Reptiles MX. He has published, besides his work in the vocalizations of Aspidoscelis costatus costatus, two short scientific notes in limb deformities in lizards and one involving tail bifurcation in A. costatus costatus.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Project Backers

  • 2Backers
  • 3%Funded
  • $55Total Donations
  • $27.50Average Donation
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