, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 145–157 | Cite as

Sexual selection versus alternative causes of sexual dimorphism in teiid lizards

  • Roger A. Anderson
  • Laurie J. Vitt
Original Papers


The presence and extent of sexual dimorphisms in body form (size and shape) of adult macroteiid lizards were investigated. Males were significantly larger than females in the temperate species, Cnemidophorus tigris, and in the tropical species, Ameiva ameiva and C. ocellifer. Young adult C. tigris males grew faster than young adult females within and between reproductive seasons. Adult males of all species had larger heads than adult females of the same body size; this difference increased with body size. Moreover, male C. tigris were heavier than females of the same snout-vent length. The causes and consequences of the sexual dimorphisms were also examined. The possible causes of body size are especially numerous, and distinguishing the relative influences of the various causal selection factors on body size is problematical. Nevertheless, observational field data were used to tentatively conclude that intrasexual selection was the cause of larger body size of C. tigris males relative to females because (1) larger males won in male aggressive interactions, (2) the winning males gained access to more females by repelling competitors and by female acceptance, (3) larger males consequently had higher reproductive success, and (4) other hypothetical causes of larger male size were unsupported.

Key words

Sexual dimorphism Sexual selection Intensive foraging Lizard 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger A. Anderson
    • 1
  • Laurie J. Vitt
    • 2
  1. 1.Savannah River Ecology LaboratoryDrawer EAikenUSA
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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