Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 438–454 | Cite as

Comparative ecology of sexual and asexual gecko species (Lepidodactylus) in French Polynesia

  • Kathryn A. Hanley
  • Douglas T. Bolger
  • Ted J. Case


The asexual geckoLepidodactylus lugubris, its sexual congenerL. sp. (Takapoto) and hybrids between the two species inhabit the atoll of Takapoto, providing a natural experiment for studying co-existence and interactions between asexual and sexual populations. The range of the sexual species is confined to one section of the lagoon beach and the trees and buildings which abut it, whereas the asexual is distributed across the whole atoll and occupies many habitats. Behavioural experiments revealed no asymmetry in levels of aggression between the two species, suggesting that the confinement ofL. sp. (Takapoto) to the lagoon beach is not due to agonistic interactions. Ecological differences among the constituent clones of the asexual species exist but cannot completely account for the broader habitat use of the asexual. Within a single habitat, one clone ofL. lugubris consumes a wider range of prey items than its sexual relative. Other studies have found that the asexuals are extremely heterozygous relative to the sexuals; we hypothesize that their broad ecological tolerance may be attributable to heterosis. The co-existence of the sexual and parthenogenetic lizards on this small island seems to be stable and may be facilitated by the specialization of the sexual taxon to beach habitats.


gecko parthenogen sex Lepidodactylus 


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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn A. Hanley
  • Douglas T. Bolger
    • 2
  • Ted J. Case
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology-0116University of California at San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Studies ProgramDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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