Ontogenetically stable dimorphism in a lacertid lizard (Acanthodactylus boskianus) with tests of methodology and comments on life-history

Merav Seifan, Ariel Gilad, Keren Klass, Yehudah L. Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Recent arguments in the literature prompted us to compare methods for assessing sexual dimorphism in body proportions of lacertid lizards, using Acanthodactylus boskianus. Although expressing body-part measurements as proportional to head length was the most effective method, we recommend using trunk length for the baseline as a general method for lizards. We also argue that, when aiming to assess sexual dimorphism in body proportions of lizards, if the context is ecological, all available adults should be included. However, for morphology and taxonomy, small sub-samples of the largest individuals that maximally express their genetic morphological potential should be used. In A. boskianus, the sexual dimorphism of mensural characters in adults was typical: males were larger, with relatively larger head and appendages. However, the ontogeny of this dimorphism was unusual in that the differences existed already in youth and thereafter persisted isometrically. The sexual dimorphism of meristic characters was male-biased in numbers of femoral pores and of caudal vertebrae, and female-biased in numbers of ventral plates along the trunk and of precaudal vertebrae. Size dimorphism may conceivably play a role in sex recognition because two potential visual cues (i.e. size dimorphism and dichromatism) appear to complement each other.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)275-288
Number of pages14
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Allometry
  • Isometry
  • Israel
  • Regeneration rate
  • Sexual dichromatism
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Sinai


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