Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 169–173

Why are sand lizard males (Lacerta agilis) not equally green?

  • Mats Olsson
Article

Abstract

Sexual selection theory and game theory posit that cues to mate quality and fighting ability should be costly to be honest. Male sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) consider a rival's nuptial coloration when making strategic decisions in contests, and in this paper I examine five mechanisms (both proximate and ultimate ones) that could constrain male nuptial coloration. Three of these mechanisms were rejected as potential constraints on male nuptial coloration: testosterone, predation, and parasites. Two mechanisms could not be rejected as constraints on male pigmentation: differential allocation of energy to reproduction versus somatic growth among males, and social costs due to high aggression from conspecific males.

Key words

Nuptial coloration Variability Proximate causation Ultimate causation 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mats Olsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology Division of Animal EcologyUniversity of GoteborgGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.University of Sydney, School of Biological SciencesAustralia

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