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Sexual dimorphism and sexual selection in a montane scincid lizard (Eulamprus leuraensis)

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Abstract

Sex-based divergences in body sizes and/or shapes within a species imply that selective forces act differently on morphological features in males versus females. That prediction can be tested with data on the relationship between morphology and reproductive output in females, and between morphology and realized paternity (based on genetic assignment tests) in males. In a sample of 81 field-collected adult Blue Mountains water skinks (Eulamprus leuraensis), males and females averaged similar overall body sizes (snout–vent lengths (SVLs)). Reproductive success (based on 105 progeny produced by the females) increased with SVL at similar rates in both sexes (as expected from the lack of sexual size dimorphism). Multiple paternity was common. Males had larger heads than females of the same body size, and (as predicted) reproductive success increased with relative head size in males but not in females. Males also had relatively longer limbs and shorter trunks than females, but we did not detect significant sex differences in selection on those traits. Reproductive success in both sexes was increased by relatively longer hind limbs. Our data clarify mating systems in this endangered species, and suggest that mating systems are diverse within the genus Eulamprus.

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