Color pattern facilitates species recognition but not signal detection: A field test using robots

Danielle A. Klomp, Devi Stuart-Fox, Elizabeth J. Cassidy, Norhayati Ahmad, Terry J. Ord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There are many factors that affect signal design, including the need for rapid signal detection and the ability to identify the signal as conspecific. Understanding these different sources of selection on signal design is essential to explain the evolution of both signal complexity and signal diversity. We assessed the relative importance of detection and recognition for signal design in the blackbearded gliding lizard, Draco melanopogon, which uses the extension and retraction of a large, black-and-white dewlap (or throat fan) in territorial communication. We presented free-living lizards with robots displaying dewlaps of different designs that varied in the proportion of the black and white components. We found no effect of dewlap brightness or design on the time it took for a lizard to detect the robot, consistent with the view that initial detection is likely to be primarily elicited by movement rather than specific color or pattern. However, males (but not females) responded with a greater intensity to the dewlap treatment that most resembled the natural dewlap color and design of the species. Furthermore, males were more likely to display to any dewlap color in the presence of a neighbor. These results suggest that dewlap pattern may play an important role in species recognition but has minimal influence on the initial detection of the signal. Importantly, our results also highlight that factors unrelated to discrimination, such as social cues and individual motivational state, may affect responses to species identity cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-606
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

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robots
color
lizards
testing
lizard
throat
fans (equipment)
animal communication
gliding
test
detection
communication

Keywords

  • Playback experiment
  • Sensory drive
  • Social signaling
  • Sympatric congeners
  • Visual ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Color pattern facilitates species recognition but not signal detection : A field test using robots. / Klomp, Danielle A.; Stuart-Fox, Devi; Cassidy, Elizabeth J.; Ahmad, Norhayati; Ord, Terry J.

In: Behavioral Ecology, Vol. 28, No. 2, 01.04.2017, p. 597-606.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Klomp, Danielle A. ; Stuart-Fox, Devi ; Cassidy, Elizabeth J. ; Ahmad, Norhayati ; Ord, Terry J. / Color pattern facilitates species recognition but not signal detection : A field test using robots. In: Behavioral Ecology. 2017 ; Vol. 28, No. 2. pp. 597-606.
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