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Shape of Western Australian dragon lizards (Agamidae)

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For 41 species of Western Australian agamid lizards, we found that most appendage lengths vary isometrically, so shape is largely independent of size. Of the three methods we used to quantitatively remove the effects of size on shape, the two that use principal component analysis (PCA; Jolicoeur, 1963; Somers, 1986; 1989) provided similar results, whereas regression residuals (against body length) provided a different interpretation. Somers' size-free PCA approach to remove the size-effects was the most useful because it provided 'size-free' scores for each species that were further analysed using other techniques, and its results seemed more biologically meaningful. Some, but not all, of the variation in size-free shape for these lizards could be related to phylogeny, retreat choice and performance traits.


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