Morphology, performance and fighting capacity in male lizards, Gallotia galloti


†Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:


  • 1Morphological characteristics (snout–vent length, badge area, mass, limb and head measures) and whole-animal performance capacities (sprint speed, acceleration capacity, stamina and bite force) were measured in male lizards, Gallotia galloti. These males were also tested in paired staged contests to assess relative fighting capacity and to link these results to morphology and performance.
  • 2A multivariate analysis of the four performance features revealed a clear difference between the physiological capacities of winners vs losers, with bite force being the most important predictor of the outcome of fights.
  • 3The finding that bite performance is linked to dominance fits in with the high sexual dimorphism in head size in this species, as head size is a predictor of bite force performance.
  • 4Winners of contests also tended to have larger total areas of blue patches on their sides, suggesting that these badges convey information on the social status of the males. However, since no correlation was found between bite force and badge size, the patches seem to contain information on a component of fighting capacity other than bite force.