, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 185-189

Tail loss reduces mating success in the Iberian rock-lizard, Lacerta monticola

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Many lizards autotomize their tails to escape when grasped by a predator. It is hypothesized that tail loss causes a reduction in social status, thereby potentially lowering their reproductive success. We experimentally induced tail loss in Lacerta monticola in a semi-natural enclosure, and show that tail loss reduced social status and mating access in males. Tailless males increased body mass more rapidly than tailed dominant males, probably due to lower aggression costs. Also, tailless females were courted less and copulated less than tailed females, supporting the hypothesis that tail loss decreases reproduction potential.

Correspondence to: J. Martin