Princeton University Library Catalog

GECKO POSITION SYSTEM (GPS): AN ANALYSIS OF SPATIAL NAVIGATION ABILITY IN VELVET GECKO (OEDURA LESUEURII)

Author/​Artist:
Uzosike, Onyemaechi [Browse]
Format:
Senior thesis
Language:
English
Advisor(s):
Pringle, Robert M. [Browse]
Department:
Princeton University. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology [Browse]
Class year:
2017
Summary note:
Spatial navigation is the ability to use cues to effectively transverse one’s environment and is vital to the survival of many organisms. Despite the significant behavioral implications of navigation and the of depth studies on spatial navigation in mammals/birds, there are relatively few studies looking into spatial navigation in reptiles, especially in Squamata (lizards and snakes), despite their being the most diverse reptile order. Additionally, among the few studies conducted on Squamata, results of studies conflict, suggesting significantly differing degrees of spatial navigation ability in reptiles. Here, we used a gecko native to Southeastern Australia, Oedura lesueurii, to investigate the degree to which these geckos do or do not have the capacity for spatial navigation. Velvet geckos were able to quickly learn to navigate to a contextually relevant stimulus in an initially novel Y Maze improving in terms of the time taken in navigating and the number of mistakes made. Overall, our data suggests that Squamata not only have spatial navigation ability, but also that they can learn unexpectedly quickly, suggesting that in some cases reptiles may have similar cognitive ability to mammals/ birds and highlighting the need for additional studies on spatial navigation and cognitive function in reptiles moving forward.