Sexual size dimorphism and its allometry in Chinese lizards

Abstract

Rensch's rule is an allometric rule on sexual size dimorphism. It states that in small-sized species, females are larger than males, whereas in larger species, males are relatively larger than females. Several studies have explored this pattern, and its inverse in lizard species. China has a unique and high diversity of species, with a variety of ecological systems which shape diversity of phenotypes. In this study, sexual size dimorphism and Rensch’s rule were determined using a dataset of Chinese lizard species. The findings show that Chinese lizards generally exhibit female-biased sexual size dimorphism. In addition, clutch size was positively correlated with sexual size dimorphism. Agamidae species were the only taxa that followed Rensch’s rule (slope of males against females was steeper than 1). Clutch size was correlated with sexual size dimorphism in groups that do not follow Rensch's rule. This finding implies that strong fecundity selection limits application of Rensch's rule in these groups.

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The dataset supporting the conclusions of this article is included within the article.

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Acknowledgements

We thank all the researchers whose work contributed to our dataset. We are also thankful to Dr Lu Zhou, Dr Emma Sherratt, and the two anonymous referees for commenting on an earlier draft of the manuscript. We appreciate Ping-ping Gao for helping with collecting morphological traits; We sincerely thank Prof. Shai Meiri for helping with understanding the concept of Rensch’s rule, organizing the statistics, and stimulating discussion. Finally, we acknowledge Qian Han for assisting with developing the species pictures in Fig. 2. We thank freescience for English editing.

Funding

A Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).

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TL, LS and CHL conceived the ideas and designed the methodology; TL and LS collected the data; TL analysed the data, TL, LS, GB and CHL led the writing of the manuscript. All authors contributed critically to drafts and gave final approval for publication.

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Correspondence to Chang-hu Lu.

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Appendix S1

. Body size (mm), mass (Log-10 transformed, g), clutch sizes, and references of Chinese lizards. (DOCX 69 kb)

Appendix S2

. Results of reduced major axis (RMA) and ordinary least square (OLS) regression of male size on female size (length and mass). (DOCX 43 kb)

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Liang, T., Shi, L., Bempah, G. et al. Sexual size dimorphism and its allometry in Chinese lizards. Evol Ecol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10682-021-10104-1

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Keywords

  • Body size
  • Fecundity selection
  • Rensch’s rule
  • Sexual selection