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Mating Strategy and Reproductive Success in the Teiid Lizard, Ameiva Plei

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Current selection on sexual size dimorphism was studied in a widely foraging non-territorial lizard, Ameiva plei. Males were significantly larger than females. Large males won intrasexual agonistic encounters and guarded females during their entire receptive period (1-4 days). Guarding males spent significantly less time foraging than males who were alone. Only males that guarded females were observed to mate. Mating success was highly skewed with only six of 21 mature males in the study site observed mating. All six males who mated were 141 mm SVL (males mature at 62 mm SVL). The four largest males obtained 84% of all observed matings and were estimated to have fertilized 88% of the eggs. Sexual selection appears to favor large size in males due to competition among males to guard females. Large females on Anguilla also had higher reproductive success bccause SVL was positively correlated with clutch size and number of clutches in a season. It appears that natural selection has favored different trade-offs between growth and reproduction in males and females.

Affiliations: 1: Section of Amphibians and Reptiles, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, U.S.A., Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, U.S.A.


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