<<返回上一页

Lizards stop blending in to bag a mate

发布时间:2019-02-27 10:03:02来源:未知点击:

By Catherine Brahic Lizards visually “shout” to get noticed when they are surrounded by a busy background of moving foliage, new research reveals. Attracting the attention of a mate can be tricky for lizards that have evolved to blend into tree foliage in order to escape predators. Anole lizards usually signal that a territory is theirs by bobbing their heads up and down. Occasionally, they also inflate their throats to display a large, pink pouch. But these demonstrations can be hard to notice against a distracting background of moving foliage. Terry Ord at the University of California at Davis, US, filmed two species of anole lizards (Anolis cristatellus and A. gundlachi), in the Caribbean National Forest in Puerto Rico. He says that the more visual disturbance in the background, the faster the lizards “danced” – bobbing their heads, displaying their pouches and lashing their tails. Watch a video of a lizard bobbing its head against a very still background. And here is a lizard bobbing its head and displaying its pouch against a more active background. The researchers say the lizards need to strike a balance between being showy enough for rivals and mates to pick them out, but subtle enough not to be seen by predators. Ord’s findings are unusual and surprising, says Walt Wilczynski, an animal behaviourist at Georgia State University in the US. Lizards are known to change their colouring according to the colour scheme of their environment, he says, “but there are very few examples that I know of where animals actually change the temporal nature of their visual display to avoid background noise”. The researchers believe the lizards’ behaviour is similar to the way some birds have been shown to sing louder in noisy environments. In December 2006, a team of Dutch researchers showed that birds in cities across Europe adapted their songs to be better heard. Journal reference: Proceedings of the Royal Society B (DOI: