Lizards 'Shout' Against A Noisy Background

One of my interests as an ethologist is animal communication. I can find almost infinite wonder in pondering how whales thousands of miles away can tell each other about their location for breeding, how bees communicate food locations, or how birds signal conspecifics for a predator alert.

This interest was one reason why I took pause at an article published via ScienceDaily a few years ago.

The researchers, Terry Ord, Richard A. Peters, and Barbara Clucas, recorded anoles in more and less visually "noisy" environments.  They found that lizards modify their visual displays in more visually busy environments.

But what are we talking about? If you've never seen lizard communication, it's pretty ethereal. Anoles do not exhibit all of reptile communication, but here are some videos of bearded dragon arm waving and head bobbing.

Visual displays are very important to mostly-mute squamates (snakes and lizards). For example, anolis lizards use colorful dewlaps while other lizards display colorful underbellies:


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