Search for the most sexually co-evolved creatures on the planet
American Biologist finds an interesting link between an Ibiza animal and tourists to the island
Away from the St Antonio melee where Ibiza becomes ‘just another Mediterranean Island’ an American biologist has been examining the ‘Ibiza Wall Lizard’ and has uncovered strage similarties between the creatures and humans.
In what is a different world, in so many meanings of the expression, Nate Dappen, from the department of Biology at the University of Miami says he has found a “cultural icon” of Ibiza.
The wall lizards have the highest colour diversity of any reptile species with varying combinations of green, orange, black or brown with scientists still unable to determine why this is the case until now.
“There’s hardly any information available to tourists or locals about these lizards’ biology or conservation,” says Dappen. “but there does appear to be a straightforward battle of the sexes at work.”
Staying on the southern island of Formentera in a house in the Ca Mari area, Dappen nestled into animal life by building an enclosure that he would watch for huge portions of the day to identify why the animals had grown so differently apart in the wake of sexual co-evolution.
Dappen undeniably realises the irony in his experiments.
“Whenever I tell people that I study sexual selection in one of the party capitals of the world, people tend to be a little sceptical about my work. It is a little ironic that I study sexual coevolution in such a sexually charged environment and I think that a lot of what we find in lizard behaviour is applicable to humans,” says Dappen.
“For example, they work out for hours to get sexy bodies, wear tight-fitting and exposing cloth to show off those bodies (or wear nothing at all as is common on Ibiza and Formentera); they purchase expensive clothes, cars and other status symbols, and dance all night to show-off to potential mates. Ibiza and Formentera embraces these human courtship rituals with its nude beaches and wild nightclubs and free spirit. In that sense, yes, there are a lot of parallels to what I study in lizards and to the human behaviors we see so often on these islands.”
An enthusiast for electronic dance music, Dappen says: “We often discount how much of our sexual behaviour is driven by unconscious biological processes. Just like the lizards using their bright colours to get more mates, humans compete in their own ways for access to mates.”
Dappen is keen, however, for more people to get involved with not just this project but all wildlife enterprises of a similar nature.
“If they want to get more involved in other activities involving wildlife on the island they should contact the Medi Ambiente and the Parco Naturales de Ses Salines and the Parco Naturales de Es Vedra. They have many projects on a wide variety or animals both marine and terrestrial throughout the Pityusic Islands.”
Please note: All comments are approved before being displayed on our website, however The Ibiza Paper can not be held responsible for the content of user submitted comments.