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SOURCES OF COLOUR PATTERN VARIATION IN MEDITERRANEAN PSAMMODROMUS ALGIRUS

M. Carretero
Published 2002 · Biology

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Colour pattern and its relation to sex, size and season were investigated in three coastal populations of Psammodromus algirus from NE Spain. Eight pattern variables, as well as body size and reproductive parameters, were recorded for 430 specimens. Results show that yellow head pattern was present in both males and females and depended on body size and locality. Furthermore, its seasonal variation was associated with reproductive activity in males. Orange infralabials appear almost exclusively in adult males. Blue ocelli constitute a potential size signal in intraspecific interactions, especially in males. The attainment of sexual maturity modified tail colour (antipredatory) and dorsolateral stripes (cryptic). Bright spots on hindlimbs varied between sites. Colour pattern is interpreted as a trade-off between different selective pressures including crypsis and intraspecific interactions. Most pattern variation is due to body size differences and only secondarily to sexual dimorphism. A hypothesis invoking differences in social system is proposed to explain the striking differences between these populations and those from Central Spain.
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