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Journal Articles The Science of Nature Naturwissenschaften Year : 2022

Do male panther chameleons use different aspects of color change to settle disputes?


In many animals, males engage in agonistic interactions. Color signals are commonly used to mitigate these potentially harmful interactions. Both pigment-based color and structural color, notably ultraviolet coloration, are used in this context to convey information, including an animal’s resource holding potential (RHP) or social status. Despite extensive previous work on this topic, the ability to change color in this context has received relatively little attention. Moreover, no studies have considered the visible and the ultraviolet components of this ability. Thus, whether changes in ultraviolet play a role in settling intraspecific disputes remains unknown. Here, we investigate the role of color change during intrasexual agonistic interactions in male panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis). To do so, we combined behavioral experiments and color analysis. Our results show that the outcome of male intrasexual agonistic interactions depends on particular aspects of color change in the visible spectrum. Dominant males exhibit more brightness changes and Euclidian distance changes within the HSV color space at the level of the bands and interbands, suggesting a prominent role of these patterns in panther chameleon communication. Our results also align with previous studies in another chameleon species, thus supporting the key role of brightness changes in chameleon communication, at least in a competitive context. Interestingly, although our species did exhibit UV coloration, neither this coloration nor its changes seem to be involved in intrasexual agonistic interactions among males, possibly because those signals may be used for other purposes like attracting mates, repelling predators, or deception.
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hal-03542356 , version 1 (25-01-2022)



Alexis y Dollion, Sandrine Meylan, Olivier Marquis, Mathieu Leroux-Coyau, Anthony Herrel. Do male panther chameleons use different aspects of color change to settle disputes?. The Science of Nature Naturwissenschaften, 2022, 109 (1), pp.13. ⟨10.1007/s00114-022-01784-y⟩. ⟨hal-03542356⟩
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