Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Jane Frances F. Boyer - University of Guam
Co-Author(s): Lindsey Swierk, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Color plays a vital role in survival by enabling camouflage, thermoregulation, social signaling, and sexual advertisement, all of which enhance an individual’s reproductive success. However, static coloration may not always promote fitness in variable situations and environments. To resolve this problem, some species have developed the ability to change color to better suit the needs of their changing environments. In this study, we examined the effects of temperature and light exposure on coloration in Norops aquaticus, in both field and laboratory experiments testing temperature and light exposure, respectively. Photographs of lizards’ dorsal and lateral sides were taken and evaluated using ImageJ to obtain RGB values, and these values were compared before and after the temperature and light treatments. Our results suggest that color is affected by temperature but not by light exposure. We demonstrated that, at higher temperatures, the dorsum, lateral eye stripe, and lateral body stripe RGB scores were brighter; conversely, at cooler temperatures, coloration was darker. These results support the idea that color change may help to regulate body temperature in this species. Future research involves further understanding color change in this species and other possible factors that may explain their color changing abilities.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This study was funded by the National Science Foundation to support the Organization for Tropical Sciences summer REU program called the Native American and Pacific Islander Research Experience.
Faculty Advisor: Lindsey Swierk, N/A