Wei ZHAO and Naifa LIU.Sexual Dimorphism of Head Size in Phrynocephalus przewalskii: Testing the Food Niche Divergence Hypothesis[J].Asian Herpetological Research(AHR),2013,4(4):242-247.[doi:10.3724/SP.J.1245.2013.000242]
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Sexual Dimorphism of Head Size in Phrynocephalus przewalskii: Testing the Food Niche Divergence Hypothesis
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Asian Herpetological Research[ISSN:2095-0357/CN:51-1735/Q]

2013 VoI.4 No.4
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Original Article
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Sexual Dimorphism of Head Size in Phrynocephalus przewalskii: Testing the Food Niche Divergence Hypothesis
Wei ZHAO and Naifa LIU*
School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu, China
Phrynocephalus przewalskii sexual size dimorphism niche divergence food composition prey size
Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) is a general phenomenon in lizards, and can evolve through sexual selection or natural selection. But natural selection, which was thought to operate mainly through reducing the competition between the two sexes (niche divergence hypothesis), gave rise to a lot of controversy. We tested the niche divergence hypothesis in the toad-headed lizard Phrynocephalus przewalskii by comparing diet composition and prey sizes between males and females. The species was found to be sexual dimorphic, with males having relatively larger snout-vent length, head width, head length, and tail length, while females have relatively larger abdomen length. Based on analysis of 93 studied stomachs, a total of 1359 prey items were identified. The most common prey items were formicid, lygaeid and tenebrionid. The two sexes did not differ in the relative proportions of prey size categories they consumed and the dietary overlap based on prey species was high (O = 0.989). In addition, the meal size, the volume or any maximal dimension of the largest prey item in the stomach was not explained by the sexes. According to our results, food niche divergence might not play an important role in the SSD evolution of P. przewalskii.


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