Color is important for signaling, camouflage, and thermoregulation in many species. The costs and benefits of coloration can vary under different scenarios, increasing fitness under some conditions but decreasing it under others. Some animals are able to resolve these conflicts by changing color. Color change can increase fitness by maintaining crypsis across variable environments, by minimizing costs associated with signaling, and by aiding thermoregulation when environmental conditions change. We examined the effect of temperature on short-term color change in males of the sexually dichromatic Eastern Fence Lizard, Sceloporus undulatus. Color is associated with social dominance in this species and may be important in facilitating camouflage and thermoregulation. This study revealed that dorsal color and badge color are affected by temperature. This suggests that short-term color change in this species may aid thermoregulation and provide an honest signal of thermally dependent performance.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4