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

Erik Wapstra*, Tobias Uller, Ido Pen, Jan Komdeur, Mats Olsson, Richard Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1057
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


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