A Species of Lizard Has Been Playing Rock-Paper-Scissors for 15 Million Years

An episode of KQED Science Deep Look reveals that male side-blotched lizards have been playing rock-paper-scissors with their mating strategies for 15 million years. Males of the species are marked under their chins with either yellow, blue, or orange coloring, and that influences their behavior when they compete for mates. Luckily for the species though, females tend to prefer the underdogs.

Male side-blotched lizards have more than one way to get the girl. Orange males are bullies. Yellows are sneaks. Blues team up with a buddy to protect their territories. Who wins? It depends – on a genetic game of roshambo.

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This post was written by Glen Tickle and published May 19, 2016 on Laughing Squid.

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