Caudal displays that lure or divert the attention of prey are well documented in legless squamates that use sit-and-wait foraging. By contrast, empirical evidence that caudal displays serve to distract prey is lacking in legged lizards. Preliminary observations suggested that juvenile Collared Lizards (Crotaphytus collaris) may give caudal displays when stalking arthropods. Therefore, we conducted field experiments involving introduction of tethered grasshoppers to test whether free-ranging lizards performed more caudal displays when they were stalking prey. Results revealed that lizards performed tail displays more frequently and longer when they were stalking than when not stalking tethered prey. Our results appear to be the first experimental support for the hypothesis that legged lizards use caudal displays when stalking prey, perhaps to distract the attention of prey away from the mouth. Combined with other published results, we demonstrate that caudal displays play a role in both foraging and predator avoidance in juvenile Collared Lizards.

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