Meeting Abstract

95.4  Sunday, Jan. 6  Is dewlap color an honest indicator of health in Anolis lizards? An analysis of population differences in body condition and parasite load. COOK, EG*; MUNOZ, MM; CONOVER, AE; SHIELDS, IH; BORONOW, KE; MURPHY, TG; JOHNSON, MA; Trinity University, San Antonio; Harvard University, Cambridge; Stuyvesant High School, New York; Harvard University, Cambridge; Harvard Univeristy, Cambridge; Trinity University, San Antonio; Trinity University, San Antonio ecook1@trinity.edu

Vibrantly colored ornaments often vary among members of the same species, and in some cases, such variability communicates information about the quality of an individual. However, which factors produce this variation is not well understood in many taxa. Anolis lizards possess dewlaps, brightly colored throat fans that are extended during behavioral interactions and vary in coloration both across the genus, and within the same species or even the same population. In this study, we investigated whether dewlap coloration serves as an indicator of two measures of male quality—body condition and parasite load—in populations of two Caribbean anoles, Anolis cybotes and Anolis distichus. We captured lizards of each species from 5-6 populations at 5-6 different elevational sites distributed throughout two mountain chains in the Dominican Republic. For each individual, we measured body length and mass, counted ectoparasitic mites, and quantified dewlap coloration using objective spectrometry. Measures of dewlap color were correlated with body condition and parasite load in each of the species when the analyses combined samples from all elevations; however, the relationships between color, body condition, and parasite load differed across the elevational sites. These results suggest that ecological factors at the different elevations, such as diet or temperature, may contribute more to dewlap color variation across populations than general animal health.