Tag Archives: communication

On the importance of Dorsal and Tail Crest Illumination in Anolis Signals

With a flurry of recent attention investigating how background light may influence the signalling efficiency of Anolis dewlaps (1,2,3,4), particularly those inhabiting low-light environments where patches of sunlight appear at a premium, it occurred to me that extended dorsal and tail crests may fall under similar selection. Below are some photos of Puerto Rican crested anoles (Anolis cristatellus) – a species in which males exhibit an enlarged tail crest and the ability to voluntarily erect impressive nuchal and dorsal crests during aggressive interactions (the mechanisms of which are detailed in this previous AA post) – that show how crests may contribute to signalling.

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I have no doubt this thought has crossed the minds of many anole scientists before, particularly those current graduate students so successfully studying A. cristatellus and familiar with their ecology and behaviour (namely Alex Gunderson, Kristin Winchell, Matt McElroy, and Luisa Otero). Dewlaps are undoubtedly of primary importance to anole signalling and communication, but what are people’s general thoughts on the relative importance of other morphological features?

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Do Anoles Produce Ultrasonic Hissing Noises?

It has recently come to my attention that several websites (e.g. wikipedia) report that male anoles produce ultrasonic hisses while fighting. I’ve been trying to track down the source of this information, but I can’t find any reference to ultrasonic sound production in anoles in the scientific literature. Does anyone know the source of this information? Can anyone confirm that anoles are capable of producing ultrasonic sounds? I’d be grateful to anyone who can shed any light on this rumor.