May 4, 2016

Phenotypic correlates of melanization in two Sceloporus occidentalis (Phrynosomatidae) populations: Behavior, androgens, stress reactivity, and ectoparasites

Physiology & Behavior
Ryan J Seddon, D K Hews

Abstract

Mechanisms underlying production of animal coloration can affect key traits besides coloration. Melanin, and molecules regulating melanin, can directly and indirectly affect other phenotypic traits including aggression, stress-reactivity, and immune function. We studied correlation of melanization with these other traits, comparing within- and between-population differences of adult male western fence lizards, Sceloporus occidentalis. We compared one high- and one low-elevation population in California where individuals are increasingly darker at higher elevations, working during comparable periods of the breeding season at each site (first egg clutch). We measured agonistic behaviors of free-ranging males in response to staged territorial intrusions (STIs). In other sets of males we measured baseline testosterone and corticosterone levels, and hormonal-reactivity to a stress handling paradigm. We counted ectoparasite loads for all males. There were no significant associations between individual variation in melanization and individual variation in any of the variables measured. However, analysis of behavior from the STIs revealed that males in the darker high-elevation population responded with more aggressive behavior compare...Continue Reading

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Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Vertebrates
Serum Hormone Levels (Lab Test)
Neuro-Oncological Ventral Antigen 2
Corticosterone Assay
Body Regions
Reposition-joint Movement
Testosterone Measurement
Ethanol
Patterns
Androgen Effect

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