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Complex Color Changes in Anolis (Reptilia, Lacertilia, Iguanidae)

Timothy C. Moermond
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 12, No. 3 (Jul. 24, 1978), pp. 319-325
DOI: 10.2307/1563612
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1563612
Page Count: 7
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Complex Color Changes in Anolis (Reptilia, Lacertilia, Iguanidae)
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Abstract

A complex pattern of color changes is described for Anolis coelestinus involving three basic background colors--gray, green, and brown--and three types of patterns--solid, striped, and mottled. This complex set of changes within one individual cannot be explained given the models and mechanisms for color change described for Anolis carolinensis. In addition, the change from green to brown occurs with the brown being stippled in, suggesting all-or-nothing responses of sets of regularly distributed melanophores. The differential occurrence of the patterns in differing habitat situations indicates camouflage as a primary function in females and juveniles. The frequent use of bright green by male A. coelestinus and the use of a peculiar green/orange pattern by a male A. distichus vinosus emphasize the importance of conspicuous color patterns in male advertisement.

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