Male Side-Blotched Lizard, Inks Lake, Texas

“Male side-blotched lizards have three heritable throat colors, associated with three divergent mating strategies. These alternative mating strategies can stably coexist because, as a game of rock, paper, scissors, each strategy has strengths over one another, and weaknesses in the case of the third. The strategy of blue-throated males is to guard their mates faithfully, whereas orange-throated males rely on aggresssion and yellow-throated males try to sneak in on females that already have a partner. The faithful blue-throated males sire the most offspring in singly sired clutches, succesfully excluding most sneaker yellow-throated males. The blue-throaters often succumb, however, to the aggression of the orange-throaters. These incursions into the blue-throater territory bring the orange-throated aggressors success, but leave them open to sneaking by the yellow-throated lizards. Yellow-throaters also sire by far the most offspring posthumously, suggesting that their sperm is particularly good at persisting inside the female for later fertilization.” (19 Dec 2003 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) Who would have ever guessed? I just saw a bold, in-your-face, proud lizard. Little did I know he was something else, entirely….

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