University of Cambridge > > Zoology Graduate Seminars > Simultaneous camouflage and conspicuous signalling in an island lizard

Simultaneous camouflage and conspicuous signalling in an island lizard

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Animals need to be camouflaged from predators, but also need to be conspicuous to communicate with mates and rivals. In this talk I will present results showing how evolution responds to this dilemma in Aegean wall lizards (Podarcis erhardii). Using visual modeling I show that, due to differences in sensitivity to ultraviolet coloration, conspecifics perceive bright sexual signals that are less visible to hunting birds. Moreover, P. erhardii have camouflaged backs and relatively conspicuous sides, making them less visible to birds hunting from above while still highly conspicuous to conspecifics on the ground. Thus, adaptations that exploit the differing visual sensitivities and perspectives of predators and conspecifics can reconcile the conflicting demands of camouflage and conspicuous sexual signals.

This talk is part of the Zoology Graduate Seminars series.

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