The persistence of colour polymorphism (CP) within a given population is generally associated with the coexistence of alternative reproductive strategies, each one involving specific trade-offs among behavioural, morphological, physiological, and other life histories. Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), is a medium-sized diurnal lizard, showing CP in three main colours (yellow, white, and red) on throat and belly, and a morph-specific pattern for both immunocompetence and seasonal variation of T levels. Yellow males show low stamina with high plasma T levels at the beginning of the season, while white males show high stamina with a higher plasma T levels at the end of the season. We hypothesised the presence of two strategies: a risky one, characterised by high aggressiveness played by yellow-morph, and a conservative one by white morph with low aggressiveness. Thus, we tested the aggressive response to conspecifics of yellow and white morphs using a mirror inserted into their cage, mimicking an intrusion of a stranger in their territories, throughout the breeding season (from April to July, 117 trials). We considered three types of aggressive response, with different levels of aggressiveness: (i) bite against the image reflected in the mirror, (ii) seconds spent by the individuals into the half mirrored cage, and (iii) number of times the lizard entered the half mirrored cage. We also considered the number of tongue flicking as explorative behaviour variable. All lizards were tested after a period of acclimatisation to the captivity conditions. Results demonstrate that yellow males showed a higher aggressive response in the early season and a decrease aggressive response towards the end, whereas white males showed an opposite pattern.

Morph-specific seasonal variation of aggressive behaviour in a polymorphic lizard species

Coladonato, Alan Jioele
;
Mangiacotti, Marco;Pasquariello, Carlotta;Matellini, Cristian;Buratti, Simone;Battaiola, Mara;Sacchi, Roberto
2020

Abstract

The persistence of colour polymorphism (CP) within a given population is generally associated with the coexistence of alternative reproductive strategies, each one involving specific trade-offs among behavioural, morphological, physiological, and other life histories. Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), is a medium-sized diurnal lizard, showing CP in three main colours (yellow, white, and red) on throat and belly, and a morph-specific pattern for both immunocompetence and seasonal variation of T levels. Yellow males show low stamina with high plasma T levels at the beginning of the season, while white males show high stamina with a higher plasma T levels at the end of the season. We hypothesised the presence of two strategies: a risky one, characterised by high aggressiveness played by yellow-morph, and a conservative one by white morph with low aggressiveness. Thus, we tested the aggressive response to conspecifics of yellow and white morphs using a mirror inserted into their cage, mimicking an intrusion of a stranger in their territories, throughout the breeding season (from April to July, 117 trials). We considered three types of aggressive response, with different levels of aggressiveness: (i) bite against the image reflected in the mirror, (ii) seconds spent by the individuals into the half mirrored cage, and (iii) number of times the lizard entered the half mirrored cage. We also considered the number of tongue flicking as explorative behaviour variable. All lizards were tested after a period of acclimatisation to the captivity conditions. Results demonstrate that yellow males showed a higher aggressive response in the early season and a decrease aggressive response towards the end, whereas white males showed an opposite pattern.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1427314
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