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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 69, Issue 9, pp 1501–1510 | Cite as

Geographic variation in aggressive signalling behaviour of the Jacky dragon

  • Marco D. BarqueroEmail author
  • Richard Peters
  • Martin J. Whiting
Original Paper

Abstract

Signal diversification is often the product of sexual and/or natural selection and may be accompanied by genetic differentiation or simply reflect a plastic response to social and environmental variables. We use an agamid lizard endemic to Australia, the Jacky dragon (Amphibolurus muricatus), to examine the relationships between population relatedness, morphology and signalling behaviour. We also tested whether males are able to discriminate among rivals from different populations and whether they respond more aggressively to more closely related populations. We studied three populations, two of which belong to the same genetic clade. Individuals from the two most closely related populations were also more similar in morphology than lizards from the third, more distant, population. However, all three populations differed in characteristics of their signalling behaviour including latency to display and the interval between displays. In addition, animals from all populations showed similar levels of aggression when matched with individuals from the same or different populations in staged trials and thus did not show evidence of population-level discrimination. We argue that display variation might be a consequence of behavioural plasticity and that, despite difference in genetic structure, morphology and behaviour, this species retains a cohesive communication system.

Keywords

Amphibolurus Australia Lizard Population variation Visual displays 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Scott Keogh and Mitzy Pepper for their help with the genetic analyses. We thank curators of the Australian Museum, Victoria Museum and South Australia Museum for providing access to reptile and tissue collections. This study was financially supported by Macquarie University, Universidad de Costa Rica and Consejo Nacional para Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas of Costa Rica (grant number: FI-252-11).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution (Macquarie University’s Animal Ethics Committee No. ARA 2010/034) or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco D. Barquero
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Richard Peters
    • 3
  • Martin J. Whiting
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Sede del CaribeUniversidad de Costa RicaMontes de OcaCosta Rica
  3. 3.Department of Ecology, Environment & EvolutionLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

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