Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 21–26 | Cite as

Evolutionary costs of aggression revealed by testosterone manipulations in free-living male lizards

  • C. A. Marler
  • M. C. Moore


We examined the hypothesis that increased aggression results in decreased survivorship. We tested this hypothesis by increasing aggression of free-living male lizards Sceloporus jarrovi with testosterone implants and evaluating the effects on survivorship. A previous study showed that testosterone-implanted males were more aggressive than controls, suggesting a greater degree of success in male-male competition. Results of the present study show that the same testosterone-implanted lizards experienced greater mortality. Testosterone-treated males were also seen more frequently and more conspicuous ones were less likely to survive. Testosterone-treated males lost more weight over the summer. In controls, survivorship was negatively correlated with the body weight index. These data suggest that conspicuousness and energetic demands interact in their influence on survivorship. Thus, the natural plasma level of testosterone may be at an optimal level balancing any potential selection pressures for a higher level of testosterone through sexual selection with selection pressures for a lower level through a decrease in survivorship.


Body Weight Testosterone Plasma Level Great Degree Selection Pressure 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Marler
    • 1
  • M. C. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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