Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry
Head shape and bite performance in xenosaurid lizards
Article first published online: 22 JUN 2001
Copyright © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Journal of Experimental Zoology
Volume 290, Issue 2, pages 101–107, 1 July 2001
How to Cite
Herrel, A., De Grauw, E. and Lemos-Espinal, J. A. (2001), Head shape and bite performance in xenosaurid lizards. J. Exp. Zool., 290: 101–107. doi: 10.1002/jez.1039
- Issue published online: 22 JUN 2001
- Article first published online: 22 JUN 2001
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 JAN 2001
- Manuscript Received: 31 JUL 2000
- Fund for Scientific Research, Flanders, Belgium
Bite performance in lizards influences many aspects of the animal’s lifestyle. During feeding, inter- and intrasexual interactions, and defensive behavior, the ability to bite hard might be advantageous. Although biomechanical considerations predict clear relations between head shape and bite performance, this has rarely been tested. Here we investigate the effect of head shape on bite performance in three closely related species of xenosaurid lizards. Our data show that in this family of lizards, bite performance is mainly determined by head height, with high headed animals biting harder than flat headed ones. Species clearly differ in head shape and bite performance and show a marked sexual dimorphism. The dimorphism in head shape also results in an intersexual difference in bite performance. As head height is the major determinant of bite performance in xenosaurid lizards, trade offs between a crevice dwelling life-style and bite performance seem to occur. The evolutionary implications of these results are discussed. J. Exp. Zool. 290:101–107, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.