Mechanisms in the Competitive Success of an Invading Sexual Gecko over an Asexual Native

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Science  15 Jan 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5093, pp. 354-358
DOI: 10.1126/science.259.5093.354


The competitive displacement by a sexual gecko species of an asexual resident gecko has been documented over a wide geographic area. To test hypotheses concerning the detailed mechanism of this displacement, an experimental system was developed to follow populations of geckos in a duplicated, controlled environment that closely approximates the natural arena for the competitive interaction. Asymmetric competition occurred only in the presence of light, which attracts a dense concentration of insect food sources. The mechanism of competition was partly due to the behavioral dominance of the larger sexual species over the smaller asexual species in areas near the concentrated food. However, this behavior resulted from an avoidance response of subordinate asexuals rather than overt aggression by the sexual species.