Sex-specific differences in ecomorphological relationships in lizards of the genus Gallotia
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Functional ecology / British Ecological Society. - Oxford
, p. 506-514
University of Antwerp
Males and females often differ from one another in phenotypic traits due to differential investment in traits relevant to the fitness of each sex. However, how differences in sexually dimorphic traits affect ecologically relevant performance traits and whether these are correlated with variation in ecology remains poorly understood. Here, we test the co-evolution of head shape, bite force capacity and diet in male and female lizards (Gallotia) from the Canary Islands, known to be sexually dimorphic. We collected data on bite force and head size and shape for both sexes of all seven extant species on all seven islands of the archipelago (ten evolutionary-independent lineages). Moreover, we collected diet data for five out of the seven species (eight lineages). Our results show that the evolution of head morphology is associated with the evolution of bite force in both sexes. However, only in females is the evolution of head morphology and bite force associated with the evolution of diet. In males, head morphology and bite force are decoupled from the evolution of diet. In conjunction with the male head shape characterized by a broad rostrum, this suggests that head shape and bite force may be evolving principally under sexual selection in males. Our data thus suggest that head morphology and associated functional traits may evolve under different selective pressures in the two sexes.