The Ecological Significance of Sexual Dimorphism in Size in the Lizard Anolis conspersus

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  27 Jan 1967:
Vol. 155, Issue 3761, pp. 474-477
DOI: 10.1126/science.155.3761.474


Adult males of Anolis conspersus capture prey of significantly larger size and occupy perches of significantly greater diameter and height than do adult females; similarly, these three dimensions of the niche are significantly larger for adult females than for juveniles. Adult males on the average eat a smaller number of prey, and the range in size of prey is larger. The relationship between the average length of the prey and that of the predator is linear when the predator size is above 36 millimeters, but becomes asymptotic when it is below that value. Subadult males as long as adult females eat significantly larger food than do the latter, but only in the larger lizards is this correlated with a relatively larger head. Anolis conspersus selects prey from a wide range of taxa and shows no obvious intraspecific specialization not connected to differences in microhabitat and prey size. The efficiency of this system for solitary species is pointed out.