Lizard Skin Patterns and the Ising Model

Szabolcs Zakany, Stanislav Smirnov, Michel C. Milinkovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus) exhibits an intricate skin color pattern made of monochromatic black and green skin scales, whose dynamics of color flipping are known to be well modeled by a stochastic cellular automaton. We show that the late-time probability distribution of the pattern corresponds to the canonical probability distribution of the antiferromagnetic Ising model and can be generated by dynamics different from the commonly-used Glauber. We comment on skin scale patterns generated by the Ising model on the triangular lattice in the low-temperature limit.

Original languageEnglish
Article number048102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2022


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