Data from: Hidden in plain sight: how ventral line markings in chameleons may enhance camouflage
Cite this dataset
Resetarits, Emlyn J.; Raxworthy, Chris J. (2015). Data from: Hidden in plain sight: how ventral line markings in chameleons may enhance camouflage [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.19dj5
Chameleons, lizards often synonymous with camouflage for their color-changing abilities, possess a variety of permanent coloration patterns whose evolutionary significance remains largely unknown. In this study, we explore the potential for white ventral line markings in species across the genus Chamaeleonidae to function as a camouflage pattern against diurnal predators. Diurnal behavioral field studies of the white-lined chameleon, Furcifer viridis showed that individuals typically exposed ventral line markings during the characteristic ring-flip anti-predator behavior, in response to a predatory threat. These ventral line markings are largely inconspicuous in other postures. Comparative morphological analyses of 86 species found that there was a significant positive correlation between ventral line markings with arboreal habitat type, even when accounting for phylogeny. These results suggest that ventral line markings (and the ring-flip behavior) could act as a disruptive or mimetic coloration marking for arboreal chameleons against visual diurnal predators. Further work testing differential predation rates is necessary in order to verify the proposed function of these line markings.