Negative association between conspicuous visual display and chemosensory behavior in two phrynosomatid lizards

Dk. Hews et Mf. Benard, Negative association between conspicuous visual display and chemosensory behavior in two phrynosomatid lizards, ETHOLOGY, 107(9), 2001, pp. 839-850
Citations number
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences","Neurosciences & Behavoir
Journal title
ISSN journal
0179-1613 → ACNP
Year of publication
839 - 850
SICI code
Communication in one sensory modality can influence communication in others . Lizards in many phrynosomatid species use primarily visual but also chemi cal signals. The striped plateau lizard, Sceloporus virgatus, exhibits evol utionary loss of a male color signal that in many species is used during ag gressive postural displays towards conspecific males. These patches are use d similarly in Urosaurus, the sister genus to Sceloporus. We compared a spe cies in which a color signal has been lost, S. virgatus, to a species retai ning the ancestral character state of blue abdominal display patches, Urosa urus ornatus, the common tree lizard, to test two hypotheses: (i) conspicuo us postural displays that reveal the abdominal patch location are used less in the species that has lost the color patches; and (ii) potential chemica l signals are used more in the species with the color loss. We analyzed bot h visual display behavior (push-up, full-show) and chemosensory behavior (t ongue flick and nose tap) of male lizards following their introduction to a resident conspecific male in his home terrarium. Resident males performed very low rates of all behaviors, but intruders exhibited sufficient behavio r for analysis. Supporting the first hypothesis, S. virgatus were less likely than U. ornat us to perform full-show, a display that reveals abdominal skin. Male S. vir gatus were more likely to perform push-up than U. ornatus, although S. virg atus performed push-up infrequently. Push-up is a postural display that doe s not specifically reveal the abdominal patch location. Supporting the seco nd hypothesis, S. virgatus were more likely to perform chemosensory behavio rs and performed them at a greater rate than did U. ornatus. Work comparing more closely related species is warranted to determine whether a negative association between conspicuous visual displays and chemosensory behavior i s a general pattern.