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Abstract

Displays can transmit information about ornament or male quality; however, few studies have simultaneously explored the relationship between displays, ornament and male quality within a single species. We quantified ornament morphology (five throat color morphs, throat area, and belly area), male quality (bite force, sprint speed, body condition, and body mass), display behavior [percent time displaying (PTD), number of pushups per display, and display duration], and movement behavior among males in a population of the ornate tree lizard, Urosaurus ornatus. Previous studies have shown that male U. ornatus are polymorphic in throat coloration and that morphs differ in behavioral aggression. Our study shows that blue throat morphs use 1.5 more pushups per display than other male color morphs, which suggests that throat color and display behavior act as backup signals for aggression. However, other data support the multiple messages hypothesis, and overall our data do not provide conclusive evidence for any one hypothesis. In addition, we show that body mass is positively related to both PTD and percent time moving and this relationship is independent of color morph. We also found that throat area, belly area, bite force, sprint speed, and body condition are unrelated to display behavior. This result highlights at least some discordance between display behavior, ornaments, and performance in U. ornatus and suggests that these traits may be evolving independently.