Lizards choose perches non randomly

Effective visual crypsis requires that animals behave in a manner consistent with their camouflage. Individuals who employ background-matching strategies are expected to preferentially occupy substrates that complement their markings.  Numerous studies have investigated dynamic background matching, but few have focused on how cryptic animals possessing a fixed pattern select suitable backgrounds.  We tested whether Jacky dragons (Amphibolurus muricatus) utilized cryptically favourable perch options more than unsuitable perches. In experiment 1 we examined perch use as a function of spectral characteristics of the perch and cover availability. Lizards significantly preferred perches with cover, while perch spectral characteristics were also important (though not statistically significant). In experiment 2 we examined use of perches differing in spatial patterns and found a strong preference for perches with patterns that match their own dorsal markings. These findings suggest lizards may be selecting basking sites in a non-random fashion with respect to the visual environment.