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Testing the quality of a carrier: a field experiment on lizard signallers

Olsson, M, Healey, M, Wapstra, E and Uller, T 2009 , 'Testing the quality of a carrier: a field experiment on lizard signallers' , Evolution: international journal of organic evolution, vol. 63, no. 3 , pp. 695-701 , doi:

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In the Australian painted dragon lizard (Ctenophorus pictus), males occur in two different morphs with respect to gular color,
with or without a yellow bib. Males without a bib lost within-clutch paternity significantly more often to rivals than bibbed
males. Thus, it appears that bibs identify some phenotypic advantage linked to competitive ability. To test whether this could be
related to whole-organism capacity to withstand an increased workload (due to better health and vigor, or evolved differences in
self-maintenance), we implanted males with a lead pellet (loaded), Styrofoam pellet (controls), or sham-operated males without
implants (shams), and compared male categories with respect to how they maintained body mass during the mating season.
Somewhat unexpectedly, bibbed males consistently lost more body weight across all treatments and controls, although we could
not verify that this translated into higher mortality in this short-lived animal (about 80% survive for one year only). However,
bibbed males may invest more into “mating success” than nonbibbed males, which agrees with our experimental results and
paternity data.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Olsson, M and Healey, M and Wapstra, E and Uller, T
Keywords: Bib, costly signaling, handicap principle, lizard, multiple paternity.
Journal or Publication Title: Evolution: international journal of organic evolution
ISSN: 0014-3820
DOI / ID Number:
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