Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Two Lady Lizards Having A Rumble

Two female Eastern Butterfly Lizards involved in a very serious stand-off on our front grass.
Butterfly Lizard altercations seem to involve lots of press-ups, puffing up the body, stern looks, and chasing. I've never seen more than the briefest moment of physical contact during these exchanges.

I don't know for certain what the two female lizards shown above were arguing about but my best guess is that they were having a dispute over territory. Eastern Butterfly Lizards live in burrows and establish a home territory of a modest thirty or so square metres. They don't tolerate Butterfly Lizards other than their own offspring in their territory. A female Butterfly Lizard will share her burrow with her offspring for several months after they hatch*.

This blog post is linked to the following memes:-
Nature Notes
Saturday's Critters
Do pop over and take a look at them.

* My reptile book says that females share their burrows with their young. I've never seen any evidence of this.


Irma said...

Beautiful pictures of these lizards.
This species can't be found in the Netherlands in the wild.
Only in the zoo you can find it.
Best regards, Irma

TexWisGirl said...

how very cool!

retriever said...

Wonderfull lezards shots.


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Uh oh! Girl fight! ;)). They're pretty lizards though.

Susan said...

Great shots of these two feisty girls Derek :D)

DeniseinVA said...

Fascinating and fun learning about these lizards. Thank you :)

Breathtaking said...

Hello Derek!:) Very interesting post and pictures. I wish that I had witnessed this altercation first hand. Lizards are such wonderful creatures, and I come across quite a few, but I have never seen a Butterfly Lizard or a lizard dispute.

Gerald (SK14) said...

a fascinating confrontatiom


I agree, territorial. Great images Derek.

EG CameraGirl said...

Temper, temper!! ;)

Marie said...

Very interesting to learn about these lizards. They sound like they aren't very tolerant reptiles. Great photos of their tiff!

Rajesh said...

Fantastic action scenes,

Margaret Adamson said...

great shot hough it would have been great to see them doing their press ups on a video. Happy St Valentine's Day and have a lovely weekend.

eileeninmd said...

Great captures in the interaction between the lizards.. It would be cool if the young were there in your yard too. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post.. Have a happy Valentine's Day weekend!

Linley S said...

If they want to occupy your garden Derek, they will have to learn to live in peace. Good captures.

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Beautiful ladies! Happy weekend, Derek!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Ever cool!

Leora said...

Wow, lizards. You wouldn't catch them in my backyard with all the ice and snow.

Rambling Woods said...

I so love seeing a behavior and then trying to find out information about it. I find it interesting when it is the females who fight. The disputes I see between hairy woodpeckers here are always between the females.... Michelle

Bethany Carson said...

Interesting to see the two of them, and learn more about lizards! They remind me of our chickens trying to decide which is higher in the pecking order--they puff out their feathers to look bigger.

Derek said...

Thanks everyone for your warm, friendly, and informative comments.

Sallie FTL,
Very amusing. You did make me chuckle.

Eastern Butterrfly Lizards are indigenous to a relatively small area of South East Asia.
Disputes are rare and usually reasonably good natured - ie a lot of bravado but an absolute minimum of violence. Many of our other local lizard species are very unpleasant during disputes.
We do see a lot of chasing though. I think this has much to do with mating rituals - which appear to be very rumbustious affairs.

Margaret A,
We've tried videoing them but they're difficult to film. They cover a lot of territory very quikly and its very difficult to keep the camera on them.

Linley S,
Quite so.

Michelle RW,
Thanks for sharing your interesting observations. I shall refrain from making a sexist comment.... other than that in predictable male fashion the guys don't care enough to get involved - although I'm not like that of course.

Thanks for sharing that - and yes I think that you're right - this is as much about pecking order as territory ie the top dog/chicken/lizard can occupy pretty much whatever territory it wants - but if they expand too far they can't adequately protect their home range.

Have a great day everyone.

bettyl-NZ said...

I'm not sure I would want to witness a row between these two! Great photos, though.

Derek said...