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Abstract

Ethological isolation was found among North American members of the fasciatus species group of Eumeces. Ethological isolation was investigated by staging a series of interspecific and intraspecific heterosexual encounters. No male E. laticeps or E. fasciatus courted heterospecific females. In both species, males courted and copulated with conspecific females in a significantly higher frequency of trials than with heterospecific females. However, male E. inexpectatus courted females of all three species, courting conspecific females and female E. laticeps at similar frequencies, but female E. fasciatus at a significantly lower frequency. No females of any of the three species were sexually receptive to heterospecific males, but forced copulation occurred in two of nine courtships of female E. fasciatus by male E. inexpectatus. Thus, ethological isolation in the fasciatus group appears to be complete with the possible exception of occasional forced copulation between male E. inexpectatus and female E. fasciatus. Preliminary evidence on the role of chemical stimuli in maintaining ethological isolation was obtained from experiments involving interspecific transfers of female odors. Male E. inexpectatus courted female E. fasciatus labelled with the odor of female E. inexpectatus in a significantly greater proportion of trials than they courted such females lacking the conspecific female odor. In a similar experiment, male E. fasciatus did not court female E. inexpectatus even if the females bore odors of female fasciatus.