Habitat: Curacao, Bonaire I
Status: Not Evaluated
Leapin’ lizards this guy is beautiful! <— Just realized I’ve made the transition from nerd to complete dork after that sentence. Whatever bro…
The Whiptail Blue Lizard (Cnemidophorus murinus) is a species of lizard that exhibits some intense sexual dimorphism, meaning the females look markedly different from the males. The most obvious difference being that the males are the only ones with these bright aqua tails. Females are a dull brown color and really not much to look at. It is interesting to note, however, that there is color variation amongst the males, too.
In a study published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, researchers described two populations of males within the entire area they were surveying. Some males lacked the bright blue tails and in fact were a uniform olive to yellow-brown color except for a few blue spots on the lateral torso. Blue males were the only ones observed to initiate aggressive encounters with other males – mainly with other blue males (70.6% of the time) rather than with the brown males (29.4% of the time). The blue males were also observed to initiate 85.7% of the courtship encounters compared with 7.1% initiated by brown males and 7.2% by females. [source]
Based on these findings, it’s safe to say that the presence of the bright blue tail indicates a more dominant role in the Whiptail Blue Lizard world. I can’t really blame the females here; I’d much rather have a big hunky guy with a sexy blue tail than a dull, boring brown fellow.
Moral of the story: Guys, always be lookin’ fly to catch a lady.