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Experimental contact zones reveal causes and targets of sexual selection in hybridizing lizards


MacGregor, HEA and While, GM and Barrett, J and Perez i de Lanuza, G and Carazo, P and Michaelides, S and Uller, T, Experimental contact zones reveal causes and targets of sexual selection in hybridizing lizards, Functional Ecology, 31, (3) pp. 742-752. ISSN 0269-8463 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

2016 The Authors. Functional Ecology 2016 British Ecological Society

DOI: doi:10.1111/1365-2435.12767


  1. Divergence in sexually selected traits in allopatry should affect the degree and direction of hybridization. However, few studies have established the causes and targets of sexual selection during secondary contact.

  2. Common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) from north-central Italy have highly exaggerated male sexual traits compared to populations in Western Europe. Using experimental populations, we show that this creates asymmetries in male dominance, spatial habitat use, and reproductive success upon secondary contact. Hybridization occurred almost exclusively between males of the Italian lineage and females of the Western European lineage.

  3. We provide evidence to suggest stronger ongoing selection on male sexual traits within the dominant Italian lineage. However, these same characters did not predict hybridization, and hybrid matings contributed little to variance in male reproductive success. Instead, most hybrid offspring were sired by Italian males displaying phenotypes associated with lower within-lineage reproductive success.

  4. Thus, highly directional hybridization arises because some Italian males are outcompeted within their own lineage but remain competitive relative to males of the other lineage.

  5. This pattern of hybridization is consistent with the direction of introgression in natural contact zones, but our data suggest that sexual selection acting through hybridization may be weak at the leading edge of natural hybrid zones.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:behaviour, hybridization, introgression, male-male competition, Podarcis
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:MacGregor, HEA (Ms Hannah MacGregor)
UTAS Author:While, GM (Dr Geoff While)
ID Code:111577
Year Published:2017 (online first 2016)
Web of Science® Times Cited:20
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2016-09-22
Last Modified:2017-11-15
Downloads:135 View Download Statistics

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