The mechanism of frill erection in the bearded dragon Amphibolurus barbatus with comments on the jacky lizard A. muricatus (Agamidae)

Gaylord S. Throckmorton, John De Bavay, Wayne Chaffey, Bruce Merrotsy, Susan Noske, Richard Noske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Amphibolurus barbatus has a threat display which includes the erection of the gular regions as a frill and may also include wide opening of the mouth to display a yellow mouth lining. Frill erection involves protraction, depression, and lateral expansion of the hyoid apparatus. Electrical stimulation of the hyoid muscles and dissection of the hyoid apparatus were used to examine specializations for producing frill erection. Specializations of the hyoid skeleton include the absence of a ceratobranchial II, presence of a synovial joint between the ceratohyal and body of the hyoid, and combined shortening of the entoglossal process and lengthening of the posterior arches. The only apparent specialization of the hyoid musculature is the anterior displacement of the origin of m. hyomandibularis. All of the hyoid muscles are involved in some way in frill erection and the actions of each muscle is described. The characteristic frill erection in the threat display of Amphibolurus barbatus is possible because of the 1:2 ratio of the anterior and posterior parts of the apparatus and the absence of the ceratobrnchial II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Morphology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology

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