Environmentally induced changes in carotenoid-based coloration of female lizards: a comment on Vercken et al.
Article first published online: 24 APR 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2008 European Society For Evolutionary Biology
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 21, Issue 4, pages 1165–1172, July 2008
How to Cite
COTE, J., LE GALLIARD, J.-F., ROSSI, J.-M. and FITZE, P. S. (2008), Environmentally induced changes in carotenoid-based coloration of female lizards: a comment on Vercken et al. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 21: 1165–1172. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01534.x
- Issue published online: 24 APR 2008
- Article first published online: 24 APR 2008
- Received 10 January 2008; revised 7 March 2008; accepted 11 March 2008
- adult sex ratio;
- phenotypic plasticity;
Colouration may either reflect a discrete polymorphism potentially related to life-history strategies, a continuous signal related to individual quality or a combination of both. Recently, Vercken et al. [J. Evol. Biol. (2007) 221] proposed three discrete ventral colour morphs in female common lizards, Lacerta vivipara, and suggested that they reflect alternative reproductive strategies. Here, we provide a quantitative assessment of the phenotypic distribution and determinants of the proposed colour polymorphism. Based on reflectance spectra, we found no evidence for three distinct visual colour classes, but observed continuous variation in colour from pale yellow to orange. Based on a 2-year experiment, we also provide evidence for reversible colour plasticity in response to a manipulation of the adult population sex ratio; yet, a significant portion of the colour variation was invariant throughout an adult female’s life. Our results are thus in agreement with continuous colour variation in adults determined by environmental factors and potentially also by genetic factors.