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Disentangling the complexities of vertebrate sex allocation: a role for squamate reptiles?

  • Erik Wapstra
  • Tobias Uller
  • Ido Pen
  • Jan Komdeur
  • Mats Olsson
  • Richard Shine
Publishing year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 1051-1057
Publication/Series: Oikos
Volume: 116
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Sex allocation is an important field in evolutionary biology, both historically and currently. However, while sex allocation theory has successfully predicted sex ratio bias in some taxa, most notably parasitic wasps, vertebrates are notorious for their poor fit to theoretical models. We argue that this arises from the use of very complex model systems to test relatively simple theoretical models. We further argue that squamate reptiles - lizards and snakes - have unduly been neglected in sex allocation studies and in fact may conform more readily to the underlying assumptions of existing theoretical models than many other vertebrates. We provide a five-point argument in favor of the use of squamates as model systems in sex allocation based on their diversity in sex determining mechanisms, life history biology, and ease of experimental manipulations.


  • Biological Sciences


  • ISSN: 1600-0706