Meeting Abstract

110.3  Saturday, Jan. 7  Spatial memory in the side-blotched lizard, Uta stansburiana LADAGE, Lara D*; ROTH, Timothy C; CERJANIC, Alexander M; SINERVO, Barry; PRAVOSUDOV, Vladimir V; University of Nevada, Reno; Kenyon College; University of Nevada, Reno; University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Nevada, Reno

Spatial memory has been shown to be important in many ecologically-relevant behaviors such as territoriality, mate choice, navigation, and the acquisition of food resources. Although true spatial memory has been tested and accepted in mammals and birds, often spatial memory capabilities in squamate reptiles have been, at best, seen as probable and, at worst, non-existent. The handful of previous studies on squamate reptiles has been equivocal- some demonstrated no evidence of spatial memory while others have supported spatial memory capabilities. In our study, we utilized a modified Barnes maze, the typical apparatus used to test spatial memory in rodents, to test spatial memory in the side-blotched lizard, Uta stansburiana. Although subjects needed many training trials to reach criterion, during probe trials every subject demonstrated unequivocal evidence of spatial memory capabilities. Thus, our finding refutes previous assertions that the evolution of spatial memory excludes squamate reptiles.