Data from: Conserved visual sensitivities across divergent lizard lineages that differ in an ultraviolet sexual signal
Dong, Caroline M.; McLean, Claire A.; Moussalli, Adnan; Stuart-Fox, Devi (2020), Data from: Conserved visual sensitivities across divergent lizard lineages that differ in an ultraviolet sexual signal, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0fg8g9h
The sensory drive hypothesis predicts the correlated evolution of signalling traits and sensory perception in differing environments. For visual signals, adaptive divergence in both colour signals and visual sensitivities between populations may contribute to reproductive isolation and promote speciation, but this has rarely been tested or shown in terrestrial species. We tested whether opsin protein expression differs between divergent lineages of the tawny dragon (Ctenophorus decresii) that differ in the presence/absence of an ultraviolet sexual signal. We measured the expression of four retinal cone opsin genes (SWS1, SWS2, RH2, LWS) using droplet digital PCR. We show that gene expression between lineages does not differ significantly, including the UV wavelength sensitive SWS1. We discuss these results in the context of mounting evidence that visual sensitivities are highly conserved in terrestrial systems. Multiple competing requirements may constrain divergence of visual sensitivities in response to sexual signals. Instead, signal contrast could be increased via alternative mechanisms, such as background selection. Our results contribute to a growing understanding of the roles of visual ecology, phylogeny, and behaviour on visual system evolution in reptiles.