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An Experimental Demonstration of the Species-Recognition Role of Anolis Dewlap Color

Jonathan B. Losos
Copeia
Vol. 1985, No. 4 (Dec. 10, 1985), pp. 905-910
DOI: 10.2307/1445240
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1445240
Page Count: 6
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An Experimental Demonstration of the Species-Recognition Role of Anolis Dewlap Color
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Abstract

Inter- and intraspecific encounters were staged in the laboratory between adult males of the sympatric sibling species Anolis marcanoi and A. cybotes which differ morphologically only in dewlap color. Levels of intraspecific aggression among A. marcanoi were high, but little interspecific aggressive behavior was observed. The importance of dewlap color for species-recognition was assessed by changing the color of the dewlap of A. marcanoi to appear like that of A. cybotes and viceversa. A. marcanoi in interspecific encounters between altered individuals exhibited an intermediate level of aggressive behavior. Intraspecific encounters between pairs of A. marcanoi with altered dewlaps revealed no higher level of aggression than the normal interspecific encounters. A system of species-recognition signals is proposed in which lizards examine more obvious signals, such as dewlap color, at greater distances and more subtle signals, such as head-bobbing patterns, at closer distances.

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