Colourful evolution

Evolution of dewlap colour-pattern variation in anolis lizards

Photo: Owen Petchy

Understanding the evolution and maintenance of phenotypic variation is a major goal in evolutionary biology. My Anolis work combines experimental, field and genomic approaches to understand the evolution of dewlap colour in Anolis lizards. Click here to read more


Stapley J, Wordley C, and Slate J. (2011) No evidence of genetic differentiation between Anoles with different dewlap color patterns, Journal of Heredity 102:118-124 (pdf)

Wordley CR, Slate J and Stapley J. (2010) Mining online genomic resources in Anolis carolinensis facilitates rapid and inexpensive development of cross-species microsatellite markers for the Anolis lizard genus. Molecular Ecology Resources 11:126-133 (pdf)


Mapping plumage variants in the zebra finch

Photo: Stuart Dennis

Variation in pigmentation often underlies many tractable and interesting questions in evolutionary biology; such as speciation, adaptation and sexual selection. In the zebra finch we have identified candidate genes for red beak colouration. Click here to read more



Mundy N, Stapley J, Bennison C, Tucker R, Twyman H, Kang-Wook K, Burke T, Birkhead TR, Andersson S, Slate J. (In press) Red ketocarotenoid pigmentation in the zebra finch is controlled by a cytochrome P450 gene cluster. Current Biology 26:1435-1440 Link to paper

Ultraviolet signalling in flat lizards, Platysaurus broadleyi

Male competition is a driving force in the evolution and exaggeration of male traits and colourful male badges are a striking example of this. Ultraviolet (UV) colour badges are an interesting example of colourful signals that while invisible to us are used extensively in a range of other taxa. We investigated how UV signals were used during male contests in the Augrabies flat lizard. Click here to read more

Stapley J and Whiting MJ. (2006) UV signals fighting ability in a lizard. Biology Letters 2: 169-172 (pdf)