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A Comparative Study of the Body Movenients of Displaying Males of the Lizard Genus Sceloporus (Iguanidae)

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Males of species of the genus Sceloporus (Sauria, Iguanidae) display by performing a series of push-ups involving their forelegs and, to varying degrees, their hindlegs. The amount of shoulder and hip movement per push-up was quantified by calculating two ratios: one by dividing the vertical shoulder movement by the vertical eye movement, and the second by dividing the vertical hip movement by the vertical eye movement. Each of the 2I species analyzed had a characteristic mean hip ratio. Inter-specifically there was a highly significant positive correlation coefficient between the mean shoulder and hip ratios, which simply indicated that species which had much hip movement also had much shoulder movement. Another significant, but negative, correlation was between the mean hip ratios and the mean snout-vent lengths. This relationship was attributed to a general compensation for the proportionately greater weight of the larger species. Further analysis indicated that the amount of hip movement was not merely an individual response to the weight/ length relationship, rather it was a genetic response by the species with closely related species having similar amounts of hip movement.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla., U.S.A.


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