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Abstract

The ability of the broad-headed skink (Eumeces laticeps) to follow conspecific odor trails on paper substrates was investigated in y-maze experiments. Adult males enter the trail-containing arm at much greater than chance frequency when the odor source is female. The data support the hypothesis that males can follow odor trails of females. The often-repeated direct contact with the trail made by tongue-flicking as the lizard passed through the maze provided evidence that males could follow the scent. There was no evidence that males followed male odors or that females followed trails laid by either sex. It is suggested that the major selective force leading to evolution by males of the ability to trail females was an increase in reproductive success accruing to males able to locate females and guard them during a temporally limited period of sexual receptivity.