Extension and retraction of the throat fan or dewlap is one of the most conspicuous aspects of display behavior of male Anolis lizards. Although dewlap display plays a role in species recognition, signal detection, and even predator defense, the importance of the male dewlap in male mating success in nature has not been established. The present study tested whether the display of the dewlap by males of Anolis sagrei affected the mating success of free-ranging males. We compared the number of males that copulated and their copulation rates between two groups: experimental males that were surgically prevented from extending their dewlaps and control males that were sham treated. Experimental and control groups did not differ significantly in the proportion of males that copulated or in copulation rate. These results do not support the hypothesis that the male dewlap affects male mating success in A. sagrei. If the male dewlap does have an effect on male mating success in this species, then the effect was too subtle to be detected by our study.
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