Raoul Van Damme

Raoul Van Damme
University of Antwerp | UA · Department of Biology

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230
Publications
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Publications

Publications (230)
Article
Recently, biologists have become increasingly interested in cognitive variation among individuals and how it relates to differences in fitness. However, very few studies so far have studied the long-term repeatability and heritability of cognitive performance in wild animals. This is nevertheless crucial information to fully understand the potentia...
Article
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Animals on islands typically depart from their mainland relatives in assorted aspects of their biology. Because they seem to occur in concert, and to some extent evolve convergently in disparate taxa, these changes are referred to as the 'island syndrome'. While morphological, physiological and life-history components of the island syndrome have re...
Article
Crocodylus moreletii (Morelet’s crocodile) and Crocodylus acutus (American crocodile) are generalist, apex predators of subtropical aquatic habitats in Central America. As top predators, crocodiles may be exposed to high levels of micro pollutants, such as trace elements via bioaccumulation that enter the food web as a consequence of human activiti...
Preprint
Animals on islands typically depart from their mainland relatives in assorted aspects of their biology. Because they seem to occur in concert, and to some extent evolve convergently in disparate taxa, these changes are referred to as the “island syndrome”. While morphological, physiological, and life history components of the island syndrome have r...
Article
Full-text available
Animals exhibit considerable and consistent among-individual variation in cognitive abilities, even within a population. Recent studies have attempted to address this variation using insights from the field of animal personality. Generally, it is predicted that animals with “faster” personalities (bolder, explorative, and neophilic) should exhibit...
Article
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In many animals, decision-making is influenced by social learning, i.e. the acquisition of insights through the observation of other individuals’ behaviours. In cases where such socially obtained information conflicts with personally acquired knowledge, animals must weigh up one form of information against the other. Previous studies have found tha...
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Animals that habitually cross the boundary between water and land face specific challenges with respect to locomotion, respiration, insulation, fouling and waterproofing. Many semi-aquatic invertebrates and plants have developed complex surface microstructures with water-repellent properties to overcome these problems, but equivalent adaptations of...
Article
The species-specific components of animal signals can facilitate species recognition and reduce the risks of mismatching and interbreeding. Nonetheless, empirical evidence for species-specific components in chemical signals is scarce and mostly limited to insect pheromones. Based on the proteinaceous femoral gland secretions of 36 lizard species (L...
Article
The effect of long term captivity is a factor that is important for all research utilizing wild caught animals. Despite the fact that it can be considered to be one of the most fundamental potential sources of stress in captivity, it has received a low amount of interest in recent research on lizards. Given the wide variety in ecology and life hist...
Article
Routine handling has been shown to affect stress levels in a variety of animal species. This could result in a general decrease in welfare and may confound the results of scientific experiments or observations on captive study animals. In reptiles, there seems to be variation in the effects of handling on stress levels. Furthermore, most studies on...
Article
Harsh and variable environments have been hypothesized to both drive and constrain the evolution towards higher cognitive abilities and behavioural flexibility. In this study, we compared the cognitive abilities of island and mainland Aegean wall lizards ( Podarcis erhardii ), which were expected to live in respectively a more variable and a more s...
Article
The fragmented population of alpine salamanders from the Dinaric Alps belongs to a distinct evolutionary lineage known as Salamandra atra prenjensis. However, the phylogenetic relationships within this lineage are unknown since previous studies did not comprehensively include Dinaric population fragments. In this study, we use six microsatellite lo...
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Full-text available
The fragmented population of alpine salamanders from the Dinaric Alps belongs to a distinct evolutionary line-age known as Salamandra atra prenjensis. However, the phylogenetic relationships within this lineage are unknown since previous studies did not comprehensively include Dinaric population fragments. In this study, we use six microsat ellite...
Article
Full-text available
1. Chemical sensing in vertebrates is crucial in their lives, and efforts are undertaken towards deciphering their chemical language. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a group of chemicals believed to play an essential role in a wide variety of animal interactions. Therefore, understanding what animals sense themselves and untangling the ecologi...
Article
In many animals, chemosensation acts as a first line of defence against snake predators. However, in spite of their obvious importance, the chemical nature of cues used by prey to detect snakes remains to be discovered. Here, we analyse which neutral lipids, extracted with n-hexane, are present in the skin of the European adder (Vipera berus) using...
Article
Amphibians produce defensive chemicals which provide protection against both predators and infections. Within species, populations can differ considerably in the composition and amount of these chemical defenses. Studying intraspecific variation in toxins and linking it to environmental variables may help us to identify the selective drivers of tox...
Article
Simon Baeckens and Raoul Van Damme introduce the phenotypic changes animals and plants undergo when inhabiting islands.
Article
Male Anolis carolinensis lizards will fight and form social dominance hierarchies when placed in habitats with limited resources. Dominance may procure benefits such as priority access to food, shelter or partners, but may also come with costs, such as a higher risk of injuries due to aggressive interaction, a higher risk of predation or a higher e...
Article
Lacertid lizards use chemical cues emitted by saurophagous snakes to evade predation. Whether these lizards can detect and respond to the chemical cues of predatory mammals has not been studied. As many mammals carry distinct body odours and/or use chemical cues for intraspecific communication, lizards can be expected to use these chemicals as earl...
Article
Species occupying similar selective environments often share similar phenotypes as the result of natural selection. Recent discoveries, however, have led to the understanding that phenotypes may also converge for other reasons than recurring selection. We argue that the vertebrate claw system constitute a promising but understudied model system for...
Article
Newly introduced predators constitute a major threat to prey populations worldwide. Insular prey animals in particular often do not succeed in overcoming their naivety towards alien predators, making them specifically vulnerable. Why this is the case remains incompletely understood. Here, we investigate how the ability to detect and respond to pred...
Article
Full-text available
Reptiles are often used as model species in scientific research and are popular in the pet trade, yet how they cope with captive conditions has not been well studied. Stress caused by captivity could affect the endocrinology, physiology and behaviour of animals, resulting in a general decrease in welfare and could confound the results of scientific...
Article
Many animals use their excrements to communicate with others. In order to increase signal efficacy, animals often behaviourally select for specific defecation sites that maximize the detectability of their faecal deposits, such as the tip of rocks by some lizard species. However, the field conditions in which these observations are made make it dif...
Article
The vestibular system is crucial for movement control during locomotion. As the dimensions of the vestibular systemdetermine the fluid dynamics of the endolymph and, as such, the system’s function, we investigate the interaction between vestibular system size, head size and microhabitat use in lizards. We grouped 24 lacertid species in threemicroha...
Article
Shape variation in the vestibular system is often linked to microhabitat structure and locomotor performance. Highly circular and orthogonal semicircular canal pairs are linked to higher motion sensitivity. Here, we use 3D geometric morphometrics to investigate shape variation in the vestibular system within lacertid lizards and its relationship to...
Article
It is often hypothesized that larger brains evolved to deal with environmental complexity, by means of enhanced cognition and behavioural flexibility. Decades of research have tried to relate relative brain size to either habitat or social complexity, but often with conflicting results. Which selective pressures favour larger brains and whether the...
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The subspecies concept is not only useful to assess the evolutionary history of species and therefore describe their evolutionary potential, but it also has corollaries for defining conservation units and their management. Within Alpine salamanders, the subspecies status of Salamandra atra prenjensis, isolated in the Dinarides from its nominal subs...
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Melanism is the occurrence of individuals that are darker in skin pigmentation than their conspecifics, which is a common colour polymorphism among vertebrates. Due to the pleotropic effects of the POMC gene that is responsible for melanin-based colouration, dark pigmentation often co-varies with a range of other phenotypic traits. Still, not much...
Article
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Animal signals can differ considerably in complexity and composition, even among closely related species. Work on vocal and visual signals has revealed how sexual selection can elaborate signals relevant in mate choice or rival assessment, but few studies have investigated this process in chemical signals. In this study, we correlated chemical sign...
Article
Animal body armour is often considered an adaptation that protects prey against predatory attacks, yet comparative studies that link the diversification of these allegedly protective coverings to differential predation risk or pressure are scarce. Here, we examine the evolution of body armour, including spines and osteoderms, in Cordylinae, a radia...
Article
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx. Animal body armour is often considered an adaptation that protects prey against predatory attacks, yet comparative studies that link the diversification of these allegedly protective coverings to differential predation risk or pressure are scarce. Here, we examine the evolution of...
Article
Full-text available
Animal signalling structures are amongst the most variable characteristics, as they are subjected to a diversity of selection pressures. A well-known example of a diverse signalling system in the animal kingdom is the dewlap of Anolis lizards. Dewlap characteristics can vary remarkably among and within species, and also between sexes. Although a co...
Data
Islands of study. Sampling locations of the populations of study across the Caribbean (figure and exact geographic coordinates).
Article
Full-text available
In many animals, male secondary sexual traits advertise reliable information on fighting capacity in a male-male context. The iconic sexual signaling device of anole lizards, the dewlap, has been extensively studied in this respect. For several territorial anole species (experiencing strong intrasexual selection), there is evidence for a positive a...
Article
Full-text available
1. The signals that animals use to communicate often differ considerably among species. Part of this variation in signal design may derive from differential natural selection on signal efficacy; the ability of the signal to travel efficiently through the environment and attract the receiver's attention. For the visual and acoustic modalities, the e...
Article
Full-text available
In response to an increased awareness concerning the welfare of captive animals, several studies have investigated the effect of provisions on stress levels in model species, such as small mammals, birds and fish. In contrast, reptiles have received less attention. Although many reptilian species are becoming increasingly popular in the pet trade a...
Article
Foraging decisions should reflect a balance between costs and benefits of alternative strategies. Predation risk and resource availability in the environment may be crucial in deciding how cautious individuals should behave during foraging. These costs and benefits will vary in time and context, meaning that animals should be able to adjust their f...
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A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML version of this paper. The error has not been fixed in the paper.
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Foraging mode plays a pivotal role in traditional reconstructions of squamate evolution. Transitions between modes are said to spark concerted changes in the morphology, physiology, behaviour, and life history of lizards. With respect to their sensory systems, species that adopt a sit-and-wait strategy are thought to rely on visual cues primarily,...
Article
Full-text available
Lizards communicate with others via chemical signals, the composition of which may vary among species. Although the selective pressures and constraints affecting chemical signal diversity at the species level remain poorly understood, the possible role of diet has been largely neglected. The chemical signals of many lizards originate from the femor...
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Chemical communication plays a central role in social, sexual and ecological interactions among animals. However, the macroevolutionary diversification of traits responsible for chemical signaling remains fundamentally unknown. Most research investigating evolutionary diversification of glands responsible for the production of chemical signals has...
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Animals communicate using a variety of signals that differ dramatically among and within species. The astonishing dewlap diversity in anoles has attracted considerable attention in this respect. Yet, the evolutionary processes behind it remain elusive and have mostly been explored for males only. Here, we considered Anolis sagrei males and females...
Article
Inter- and intrasexual selection are often assumed to push phenotypes in similar directions, but this must not always be the case. The current study used two artificial selection treatments in an attempt to disentangle the effects of inter- and intrasexual selection in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). The first artificial treatment (inter) was main...
Article
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Limbless animals that burrow head-first are often considered to be evolutionarily constrained in the development of a large head, due to limitations imposed while penetrating the soil. Whilst animals with a small head experience less resistance when digging, they are believed to have a weak bite, hence restricting their potential dietary spectrum t...
Article
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The chemical senses are crucial for squamates (lizards and snakes). The extent to which squamates utilize their chemosensory system, however, varies greatly among taxa and species' foraging strategies, and played an influential role in squamate evolution. In lizards, Scleroglossa evolved a state where species use chemical cues to search for food (a...
Article
Chemical signals are essential for intersexual communication in many animals, including lizards. While faeces have been suggested to contain socially relevant chemical stimuli, epidermal gland secretions are generally believed to be the leading source of chemosignals involved in lizard communication. Early research has shown that sex hormones affec...
Article
Most organisms are limited in the amount and type of resources they are able to extract from the environment. The juvenile environment is particularly important in this regard, as conditions over ontogeny can influence the adult phenotype. Whole-organism performance traits, such as locomotion, are susceptible to such environmental effects, yet the...
Article
Full-text available
While the conspicuous visual displays of anoles have been studied in great depth, the possibility that these lizards may also interact through chemical signalling has received hardly any consideration. In this study, we observed the behaviour of male brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) when introduced into an environment previously inhabited by female con...
Data
Table with descriptive statistics for the behavioural traits scored Descriptive statistics for the display behaviour and exploratory activity in male Anolis sagrei when introduced in an untreated control terrarium (‘control’) and an experimental terrarium previously inhabited by conspecific females (‘exper’).
Article
Full-text available
Animals communicate via a variety of sensory channels and signals. Studies on acoustic and visual communication systems suggest that differences in the physical environment contribute to the variety of signalling behaviour, with species investing in those signals that are transmitted best under the local conditions. Whether or not environmental tun...
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Digit length ratio (primarily 2D:4D) has become increasingly popular as a possible biomarker of intrauterine steroid exposure in the human medical, social and psychological literature. Human males tend to have lower digit ratios than females, and individuals with low ratios tend to excel in physical performance, especially in endurance-related spor...
Article
Many lizard and amphisbaenian lineages possess follicular glands in the dermis of the inner thighs and/or the area anterior to the cloaca. These tubular glands produce a holocrine secretion that finds its way to the external world through pore-bearing scales (femoral and/or preanal pores). Secretions are composed of proteins and many lipophilic com...
Article
Dewlaps of Anolis lizards are complex multicomponent signaling devices that have been intensively studied. Yet, the functions and multiple messages conveyed by the dewlap remain largely unknown. Here, we assess some aspects of sexual identity, individual quality, and social status that may be signaled by the dewlap in both sexes of Anolis sagrei. I...
Article
Concealment by means of colour change is a pre-eminent deceptive mechanism used by both predators and prey. The moorish gecko Tarentola mauritanica is able to blend into the background by either darkening or paling according to the substrate darkness. Here we examined the functioning of background perception in moorish gecko. We experimentally excl...
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Although laboratory measurements of whole-animal performance have become a standard tool in evolutionary biology, if and how interindividual variation in performance translates into differential fitness remains poorly understood. Particularly rare are studies that have connected performance to mating and reproductive success in the field. In this s...
Article
Although the visual display behavior in Anolis lizards has received ample attention, the function of dewlap extensions (DE), push-ups (PU), and head-nods (HN) in general, and in Anolis sagrei in particular, remains highly equivocal. Therefore, our primary goal was to quantify the display rates of these visual signal types (DE, PU, and HN) in a vari...
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Full-text available
Aim Temperature influences most components of animal ecology and life history – but what kind of temperature? Physiologists usually examine the influence of body temperatures, while biogeographers and macroecologists tend to focus on environmental temperatures. We aim to examine the relationship between these two measures, to determine the factors...
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Thermal quality and predation risk are considered important factors influencing habitat patch use in ectothermic prey. However, how the predator's food requirement and the prey's necessity to avoid predation interact with their respective thermoregulatory strategies remains poorly understood. The recently developed 'thermal game model' predicts tha...
Article
In many animals, aspects of colouration are hypothesized to convey information on the body condition or quality of individuals. This idea has been tested primarily for the carotenoid-based component of body colouration. The significance of other pigments in this context has received far less attention. In the common lizard, Zootoca vivipara, the de...
Article
Interspecific aggression is thought to be driven by competition over either shared resources or mates, with the latter facilitated by mistaken or poor species recognition. However, such aggression may potentially also be modulated by other factors, including residency in territorial species. We tested the relative strengths of intra‐ and interspeci...
Article
Colour has many different functions in animals, such as an involvement in thermoregulation, crypsis, and social interactions. Species capable of physiological colour change may alter their coloration in response to ecological conditions. The Moorish gecko, Tarentola mauritanica, is capable of actively changing its body coloration. In the present st...
Article
Over the past decade, hundreds of studies have examined the abilities of whole organisms to modify their physiology and behaviour in response to environmental temperature changes; despite this, virtually nothing is known about the ability of sex cells to adjust to different temperature conditions. In fact, a recent meta-analysis based on studies of...
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Full-text available
Sexual selection molds the morphology, physiology and behavior of males in many animals. At first glance, it seems reasonable to assume that females would use the same male traits and signals in mate choice as males do during male-male competition. However, intra- and intersexual competition may affect traits in the same or the opposite direction,...
Article
Unpredictable environmental conditions and highly fluctuating population densities are believed to have produced a ‘reversed island syndrome’ (RIS) in an insular population of the Wall lizard on Licosa Islet, Italy. Several of the physiological, behavioural, and life‐history changes that constitute the RIS could result from positive selection on in...