Are male Jamaican anole lizards masking some deep insecurity? Overcompensating for small body parts?
Nothing quite that dramatic, though the reason they begin and end the day with displays of reptilian strength, like push-ups, head bobs and extensions of a colorful neck flap, or dewlap, was unknown until recently.
The answer? Nothing more than wanting to defend their territory, according to a new study.
"Anoles are highly visual species, so in that sense it is not surprising that they would use visual displays to mark territory," said Terry J. Ord, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis and at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology. The lizards are the first animals known to mark dawn and dusk through visual displays, rather than the much better known chirping, tweeting, and other sounding off by birds, frogs, geckos and primates.