Horned Lizard Responses to Diverse Threats from Diverse Predators: Mental Constructs and Cognitive Worlds? (pp. 177-196)
Authors: (Wade C. Sherbrooke, American Museum of Natural History, NY, USA)
Abstract: Predator-prey interactions reliant on visual signals are ancient and have evolved to incorporate multiple attack stages and corresponding escape strategies. During field and enclosure studies I have tried to understand the use of visually mediated mental categorization of responses of horned lizards to a wide diversity of predators, reptilian, avian, and mammalian, having different predatory skills. My observations focus on two species, Texas horned lizards and round-tailed horned lizards that differ in size (large and small) and methods of camouflage (background matching and object mimicry). I have tried to piece together horned lizard defensive actions throughout sequential events of predator-prey interactions — from encounter to ingestion. In early stages of events the lizards utilize components of camouflage, apparently with a wide spectrum of predators, whereas in later stages it becomes clear from their responses that they discriminate distinct categories of predators and selectively utilize survival-appropriate defense tactics with different categories.