• colour variation;
  • ecological speciation;
  • intrasexual selection;
  • sensory drive


The evolution of intersexual interactions, like mate choice, during ecological speciation has received widespread attention. However, changes in intrasexual interactions, like male territoriality, during ecological divergence are largely unexamined. We conducted field experiments with adaptively diverged populations of the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) to determine whether territorial males behaved differently towards ecologically similar vs. dissimilar intruders. We performed trials with light-coloured males from White Sands, New Mexico and dark-coloured males from the surrounding desert. We found that intruders from White Sands elicited more aggression than intruders from dark-soil habitat. We also documented a case of ‘sex confusion’ where white-sand males courted dark-soil intruders. We found population differences in signalling patch size that can explain both aggression bias and sex misidentification. We argue that direct selection (for population recognition or optimal signal transmission) and indirect selection (by-products of ecological adaptation) should influence both intersexual and intrasexual interactions during ecological speciation.