Patterns of coexistence in sexual and asexual species of Cnemidophorus lizards
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- Case, T.J. Oecologia (1990) 83: 220. doi:10.1007/BF00317756
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The lizard genus Cnemidophorus (family Teiidae) contains sexual as well as parthenogenetic species. The theoretical two-fold fitness advantage of asexuality does not translate into any obvious distributional or numerical superiority of the parthenogenic species in the southwestern US and northern Mexico where their ranges overlap. I tested the prediction that the genetically diverse sexual species should have a higher between-individual niche width than a similar sympatric asexual species by studying the prey in stomach contents of sympatric and allopatric populations of C. tigris (sexual) and C. sonorae (asexual) in southern Arizona. The expectation proved true for niche breadths based on both prey length and prey taxa categories. The within-individual component of niche breadth was not different between species. Meaningful comparisons between species in sympatry and allopatry are confounded by the uncontrolled differences in the availability and diversity of food items between sites. Before the generality of these results can be assessed the study should be repeated in other areas where sexual and asexual species are syntopic and of similar body size.