Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Biology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Richard Tokarz

Second Committee Member

Keith Waddington

Third Committee Member

William Searcy

Fourth Committee Member

Manuel Leal


Males of the Mexican lizard Sceloporus minor (Phrynosomatidae) exhibit striking variation in dorsal coloration, both within and among populations, which may have arisen by sexual selection. The possible significance of this trait was investigated through a combination of observational and experimental approaches. This research revealed that males in one population (La Manzana) in NW Hidalgo exhibit three discrete color morphs (blue, yellow, red) each characterized by morphological, physiological and behavioral differences. Furthermore, these morphs can be identified by an objective approach to color assessment (spectroradiometry). In addition, males in a second population (Escalerillas) from SE San Luis Potosí were also found to occur in at least two color morphs (yellow and red), suggesting that color polymorphism may be general in this species. The hypothesis of sensory exploitation by male contest competition was tested for S. minor from Escalerillas; however, no support for this hypothesis was found. Overall, results from this study are consistent with the hypothesis of alternative reproductive tactics in S. minor.


Sceloporus Minor; Color Polymorphism; Sexual Selection; Alternative Reproductive Tactics