Sex-specific visual performance: Female lizards outperform males in motion detection

Saúl S. Nava, Mirela Conway, Emília P. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In animal communication, complex displays usually have multiple functions and, male and female receivers often differ in their utilization and response to different aspects of these displays. The perceptual variability hypothesis suggests that different aspects of complex signals differ in their ability to be detected and processed by different receivers. Here, we tested whether receiver male and female Sceloporus graciosus lizards differ in visual motion detection by measuring the latency to the visual grasp response to a motion stimulus. We demonstrate that in lizards that largely exhibit complex motions as courtship signals, female lizards are faster than males at visually detecting motion. These results highlight that differential signal utilization by the sexes may be driven by variability in the capacity to detect different display properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)732-734
Number of pages3
JournalBiology letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 23 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal communication
  • Complex signals
  • Motion detection
  • Sceloporus graciosus
  • Sex difference
  • Visual performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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