Egg incubation temperature affects male reproductive success but not display behaviors in lizards

Daniel A. Warner, Kevin L. Woo, Daniel A. van Dyk, Christopher S. Evans, Richard Shine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The complex ritualized displays of males in many territorial species suggest that selection has shaped male behaviors in ways that affect fitness. In this study, we evaluated the link between display behavior during male-male interactions and reproductive success in the Australian jacky dragon (Amphibolurus muricatus), a lizard species that uses a complex series of movement patterns for communication. We quantified variation in male display behaviors by using video playback experiments in the laboratory, and subsequently assessed variation in male reproductive success by paternity analyses of offspring. Because the lizards used in this study came from eggs incubated under three thermal environments, we also could evaluate the impact of developmental temperature on adult behavior and reproductive success. Incubation temperature had a strong effect on male reproductive success; males produced under intermediate temperatures sired more offspring than those produced under extreme developmental temperatures. However, incubation temperature did not affect male display behavior, nor was male behavior associated with reproductive success. Our findings do not support the common assumption that display behaviors used during male-male interactions affect reproductive success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-813
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Aggressive behavior
  • Amphibolurus muricatus
  • Selection gradient
  • Submissive behavior
  • Temperature-dependent sex determination
  • Video playback experiment


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