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Rapid body color change is well documented in animals, but the variety of environmental factors that induce this change are not fully understood. Anolis aquaticus is a tropical lizard with rapid body color changes that uses colder-than-average refugia, namely diving underwater for extended periods, to flee from predators. Using underwater refugia causes these lizards to lose several degrees of body heat. The relationship of low body temperatures on body coloration was tested. First, an observational study was conducted in the field of the correlation between body temperature and body color. Then body temperature was experimentally reduced in the laboratory to observe the effect on body color. Body color was quantified from standardized photographs, and visual modeling was used to determine lizard body coloration changes as seen by their primary predators (birds). Preliminary results that document the effect of temperature reductions on body color changes in A. aquaticus are presented.



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The Effects of Temperature on Rapid Body Color Change in Anolis Aquaticus