P2.161 Thursday, Jan. 5 Highly-parasitized Caribbean lizards (Anolis brevirostris) exhibit less colorful, less frequent social displays COOK, E.G.*; MURPHY, T.G.; JOHNSON, M.A.; Trinity University, San Antonio; Trinity University, San Antonio; Trinity University, San Antonio firstname.lastname@example.org
Many animals utilize colorful displays to communicate with one another in behavioral interactions. The coloration of structures used in these displays can vary widely among individuals, but the underlying reasons for this variation are not well understood. In Anolis lizards, the dewlap, a brightly colored throat fan, is extended during courtship and territory defense. In this study, we examined whether lizard parasite load or investment in behavioral display were related to the variable red-orange dewlap coloration of male Anolis brevirostris from Barahona, Dominican Republic. In the field, we collected behavioral data on dewlap display rate for 30 individuals. We then captured each lizard, counted the number of ectoparasitic mites on the lizard, and measured its dewlap coloration. Color was measured with an objective spectrometer that quantified dewlap brightness (amount of white), hue (dominant wavelength of color), and red saturation (purity of color). We found that the relative abundance of ectoparasites was related to measures of dewlap brightness, suggesting that brightness can indicate a displaying individual's relative health – and that this information might be used by other lizards when making choices about whether to interact with a displaying male. Behavioral analyses indicate that individuals with drab (i.e., more white) dewlaps displayed their dewlaps less frequently than those with more colorful dewlaps, suggesting that more colorful males invest more in display behavior. The finding that males that perform fewer displays are less colorful indicates that display performance may be directly affected by parasitism.