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The role of body size in competition and mate choice in an agamid with female-biased size dimorphism


Stuart-Smith, JF and Swain, R and Wapstra, E, The role of body size in competition and mate choice in an agamid with female-biased size dimorphism, Behaviour, 144, (9) pp. 1087-1102. ISSN 0005-7959 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1163/156853907781871833


Competition and mate choice are fundamentally important components of social systems. We investigated intra-sexual competition and inter-sexual competition (mate choice) in Rankinia diemensis, an agamid lizard with female-biased size dimorphism. We examined intra-sexual interactions during contests and mate choice in relation to body size for both males and females. In male-male competition trials, proportions of two display types differed depending on body size, with more tail flicks produced by bigger males, and more hand-waves displayed by smaller males. These behaviours hold particular biological significance for agamid lizards; tail-flicks convey aggressiveness and, therefore, dominance, while hand-waves often denote submissiveness. In female-female competition trials, a greater difference in body size between the two conspecifics resulted in the larger female directing more pushes towards the smaller female. This female competition may be important in the social system and could be involved in resource defence. We found no indication of size-based mate choice for males or females. This suggests mate preferences may not be based on body size in this species. This may be linked to female-biased size dimorphism in this species, but it also supports previous studies that have failed to demonstrate female choice in reptiles. © 2007 Brill Academic Publishers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Population ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Stuart-Smith, JF (Dr Jemina Stuart-Smith)
UTAS Author:Swain, R (Dr Roy Swain)
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Associate Professor Erik Wapstra)
ID Code:49760
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2012-03-05

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