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Keywords:

  • sexual dimorphism;
  • sexual selection;
  • agonistic interactions;
  • copulation;
  • Lacertidae;
  • Squamata;
  • Zootoca vivipara

Abstract

Zootoca vivipara is a small lizard that shows sexual dimorphism in head size. Males have larger heads than females of the same body size. By observing matings and aggressive interactions between males in the laboratory, we investigated whether this sexual dimorphism could be the result of intra- and/or intersexual selection. Winners of male–male interactions had larger heads than losers. During mating attempts, males with larger heads succeeded in grasping a female faster than males with smaller heads. It follows that head size in Z. vivipara may affect male reproductive success both through intrasexual competition (fighting ability) and through intersexual selection (grasping ability). This suggests that sexual selection may be the cause for the sexual dimorphism in head size in this species.