Publication
Title
Functional and ecological relevance of intraspecific variation in body size and shape in the lizard **Podarcis melisellensis** (Lacertidae)
Author
Abstract
Within populations, individual animals may vary considerably in morphology and ecology. The degree to which variation in morphology is related to ecological variation within a population remains largely unexplored. We investigated whether variation in body size and shape among sexes and age classes of the lizard Podarcis melisellensis translates in differential whole-animal performance (sprint speed, bite force), escape and prey attack behaviour in the field, microhabitat use and diet. Male and female adult lizards differed significantly in body size and head and limb proportions. These morphological differences were reflected in differences in bite strength, but not in sprint speed. Accordingly, field measurements of escape behaviour and prey attack speed did not differ between the sexes, but males ate larger, harder and faster prey than females. In addition to differences in body size, juveniles diverged from adults in relative limb and head dimensions. These shape differences may explain the relatively high sprint and bite capacities of juvenile lizards. Ontogenetic variation in morphology and performance is strongly reflected in the behaviour and ecology in the field, with juveniles differing from adults in aspects of their microhabitat use, escape behaviour and diet.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Biological journal of the Linnean Society. - London
Publication
London : 2008
ISSN
0024-4066
Volume/pages
94:2(2008), p. 251-264
ISI
000256350300004
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 26.01.2009
Last edited 12.11.2017
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