I-P Chen, MRE Symonds, J Melville, D Stuart-Fox (2013) Factors shaping the evolution of colour patterns in Australian agamid lizards (Agamidae): a comparative study.Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 109: 101-112 PDF
What’s it about?
We examined whether specific colour patterns in dragon lizards were associated with particular environments and habits (e.g. whether browns and reds tends to be used in lizards living in sandy substrates). We also looked at whether there is evidence for sexual selection choosing for particular types of colour patterns (there isn’t really).
What’s the story behind it?
This was the second paper from I-Ping’s Masters’ thesis (for a bit more of her back story and the story of the project in general see Chen et al. 2012). In many ways this was a much more difficult paper to write (Devi Stuart-Fox certainly had her work cut out with helping to get it ready for publication, and I think in fact she found it among the most difficult papers she’d ever worked on). Part of the problem was getting the analysis right, which involved a lot of complex breaking down of the data. The story was not also very clear cut, the patterns that I-Ping found were fairly difficult to discuss (there was not an obvious interpretation). The reviewers’ comments were very tricky, so there was a lot of hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth (our own, not each others, you’ll be glad to hear).