Habitat light and dewlap color diversity in four species of Puerto Rican anoline lizards.


Journal Article

Closely related species often have signals that differ dramatically in design. The evolution of such differences may be important in the process of speciation. Selection for signal detectability under different habitat conditions has been proposed as a mechanism leading to the evolution of signal diversity. We examined dewlap color in four closely related species of Anolis lizards that occupy habitats with different light conditions. Initially, we tested the hypothesis that lizards choose specific light conditions within each habitat in which to signal. We rejected this hypothesis for all four species. We next calculated the detectability of the dewlap color of all four species at display locations in each habitat. If selection for detectability under the different light conditions explained the divergence in signal design, the occupant of a given habitat was predicted to have the highest signal detectability in that habitat. However, the rank order of detectability of the four dewlap colors was nearly the same in all four habitats. We concluded that divergent selection for signal detectability does not, by itself, explain the evolution of dewlap color diversity. We hypothesize that the evolution of dewlap color diversity results from simultaneous selection for multiple functions of dewlap color.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Fleishman, LJ; Leal, M; Persons, MH

Published Date

  • November 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 195 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1043 - 1060

PubMed ID

  • 19756647

Pubmed Central ID

  • 19756647

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1432-1351

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0340-7594

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00359-009-0478-8


  • eng