Behaviour 2019
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Limited evidence of problem-solving in the brown anole lizard (Anolis sagrei)
Robyn M. Screen. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, United States

Over the past two decades, comparative psychology and animal behavior studies have increasingly explored variation in animal cognition, including animals’ ability to problem-solve. Most studies are focused on mammals and birds, though there are rare instances of reptiles exhibiting higher cognitive abilities. I evaluated the learning ability of 66 wild-caught female brown anole lizards (Anolis sagrei). I utilized a timed detour task and learning set. Lizards could only access their food reward (crickets) by entering a clear plastic tube from one side. Trials were performed in the lab over six to eight consecutive days to evaluate if lizards improved – solved the puzzle more quickly – with experience over time. About half the lizards successfully entered the clear tube at least once: 16 succeeded only once, 9 improved over the week of trials, 6 performed worse over the week of trials, and 3 had variable solve times throughout the trials. I did not see consistent evidence for problem-solving in brown anole lizards, highlighting the need for larger sample sizes in this field. Understanding variation in learning ability in reptiles is crucial before further exploring its significance.