Conspecifics of the Striped Lava Lizard are able to distinguish sex and male colour morphs in apparently homogeneous dull dorsal colouration: Supplementary material
2018-09-17T08:21:03Z (GMT) by
Animal colouration plays a key role in inter and intraspecific interactions, pre-eminently in mate signalling. When multiple types of colouration occur within sexes it is possible that they show alternative reproductive strategies. In lizards, most colouration studies do not incorporate how colour is perceived by conspecifics. Here, we used unbiased colour analysis methods (spectrophotometry and visual modelling) to test for sexual dimorphism and within male dichromatism in the Striped Lava Lizard. We found that males express two distinct colourations that are different from females in several dorsal and ventral body regions. Our results showed UV reflection at the throat, an important body region for signalling. Ventral patches, the coloured badge seen in adult males of Tropidurus spp, have two distinct colour classes within males (Y and B males). Morphs are best discriminated by blue and yellow chroma, and brightness. Body size had little influence on colouration, suggesting that colour may be linked to inheritance rather than growth. Our study clearly shows sexual dichromatism and the existence of colour morphs in this species. Moreover, morph differences in colouration are perceptible by conspecifics. These differences are not only between ventral patches, but also in other body parts such as the dorsum, previously considered as cryptic by human observers. We suggest that colouration at the ventral patches and throat might play a role in intraspecific interactions. Patches increase colour intensity during breeding season and are likely to be costly by pigment-based expression, whereas throat’s UV reflection might have a cost infringed by conspicuousness.