Sexual selection and the evolution of complex color patterns in dragon lizards

Chen, I-Ping, Stuart-Fox, Devi, Hugall, Andrew F. and Symonds, Matthew R. E. 2012, Sexual selection and the evolution of complex color patterns in dragon lizards, Evolution, vol. 66, no. 11, pp. 3605-3614.

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Title Sexual selection and the evolution of complex color patterns in dragon lizards
Author(s) Chen, I-Ping
Stuart-Fox, Devi
Hugall, Andrew F.
Symonds, Matthew R. E.ORCID iD for Symonds, Matthew R. E.
Journal name Evolution
Volume number 66
Issue number 11
Start page 3605
End page 3614
Total pages 10
Publisher Wiley - Blackwell Publishing
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2012-11
ISSN 0014-3820
Keyword(s) agamidae
color pattern complexity
phylogenetic generalized least squares
sexual dichromatism
sexual dimorphism
signal evolution
Summary Many species have elaborate and complex coloration and patterning, which often differ between the sexes. Sexual selection may increase the size or intensity of color patches (elaboration) in one sex or drive the evolution of novel signal elements (innovation). The latter potentially increases color pattern complexity. Color pattern complexity may also be influenced by ecological factors related to predation and environment; however, very few studies have investigated the effects of both sexual and natural selection on color pattern complexity across species. We used a phylogenetic comparative approach to examine these effects in 85 species and subspecies of Australian dragon lizards (family Agamidae). We quantified color pattern complexity by adapting the Shannon–Wiener diversity index. There were clear sex differences in color pattern complexity, which were positively correlated with both sexual dichromatism and sexual size dimorphism, consistent with the idea that sexual selection plays a significant role in the evolution of color pattern complexity. By contrast, we found little evidence of a link between environmental factors and color pattern complexity on body regions exposed to predators. Our results suggest that sexual selection rather than natural selection has led to increased color pattern complexity in males.
Language eng
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060309 Phylogeny and Comparative Analysis
060809 Vertebrate Biology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2012, Wiley - Blackwell
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