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Signalling with physiological colours: high contrast for courtship but speed for competition

Batabyal, Anuradha and Thaker, Maria (2017) Signalling with physiological colours: high contrast for courtship but speed for competition. In: ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 129 . pp. 229-236.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.05.018


Dynamic physiological colour change allows animals to alter colours and patterns for communication, camouflage and thermoregulation. Using reflectance spectrometry and digital photography, we found that males of the Indian rock agama, Psammophilus dorsalis, can rapidly express intense colours that are different from the neutral state and specific to the social context. The distinct bands on males shifted between yellow and red (dorsal) and between orange and black (lateral) within seconds, and the resulting colour pattern was diametrically different depending on whether males were in courtship or aggressive interactions. Although males showed higher chromatic contrast when courting females, the colour change was faster during competitive encounters with other males. The nature of this social colour communication also differed across populations in anthropogenically disturbed landscapes. Compared to males from rural areas, suburban males were slower to change colour and showed duller and paler colours during staged social encounters. Consistent with other disturbance-induced shifts in phenotypic traits seen in numerous taxa, we provide the first evidence that social signalling through dynamic colour change in terrestrial vertebrates is also affected by urbanization. (C) 2017 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 24-28 OVAL RD, LONDON NW1 7DX, ENGLAND
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2017 06:48
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2017 06:48
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/57621

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