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Properties of an attention-grabbing motion signal: a comparison of tail and body movements in a lizard

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posted on 07.06.2022, 06:18 authored by Richard PetersRichard Peters, Jose Ramos
Animals signals must be detected by receiver sensory systems, and overcome a variety of local ecological factors that could otherwise affect their transmission and reception. Habitat structure, competition, avoidance of unintended receivers and varying environmental conditions have all been shown to influence how animals signal. Environmental noise is also crucial, and animals modify their behavior in response to it. Animals generating movement-based visual signals have to contend with wind-blown plants that generate motion noise and can affect the detection of salient movements. The lizard Amphibolurus muricatus uses tail flicking at the start of displays to attract attention, and we hypothesized that tail movements are ideally suited to this function. We compared visual amplitudes generated by tail movements with push-ups, which are a key component of the rest of the display. We show that tail movement amplitudes are highly variable over the course of the display but consistently greater than amplitudes generated by push-ups and not constrained by viewing position. We suggest that these features, combined with the tail being a light structure that does not compromise other activities, provide an ideal introductory component for attracting attention in the ecological setting in which they are generated.

Funding

This work was funded by a grant to RAP from the Australian Research Council under the Discovery Projects scheme (DP170102370).

History

Publication Date

01/01/2022

Journal

Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology

Volume

208

Issue

3

Pagination

13p. (p. 373-385)

Publisher

Springer

ISSN

0340-7594

Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.