Releasing the Frillies

Just some tree bark? …. spot the frilly!
You can see why they are difficult to find during the day. Not only are they cryptic, but they position themselves behind the trunk so a predator will not be able to see them! Night fieldwork is more promising.
Godzilla (F13) going through behavioral trials

I’m testing whether frills are used as a deimatic signal, particularly color, and examining the behavioral sequence after introducing a model predator. All the frillies I’ve found have three large frill folds with bright red-orange coloration restricted to the region between the folds, so when the frill is folded the coloration is concealed. But there are many frill regions with different colors (especially the back of the frill which came as a surprise to me), so I’m developing an extensive data set with a spectrophotometer… a lot is going on in their frills! I’m also looking at differences in frill size and color between the sexes for the frill’s potential role in sexual selection – there have been some behavioral studies on male-male competition.

All photographs in this post taken after capture or during release [5]; frillies handled with appropriate permits for scientific study.

Releasing male frilled dragons, the first of the two nicknamed Godzilla. I have never dealt with such a fierce lizard. He might eat me for lunch if I gave him the opportunity.
Releasing female dragons
Impressive musculature on Godzilla’s lower jaw
Godzilla overlooks his kingdom
A sweeter face on this second male
The eye of a dragon

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