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1 September 2012 Sexual Dimorphism in the North African Amphisbaenian Trogonophis wiegmanni
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Sexual dimorphism in size or shape is common in many reptile species. Amphisbaenians are morphologically specialized for a fossorial life, which might constrain the evolution of sexual dimorphism. This might explain why some amphisbaenian species, but not others, show some type of sexual dimorphism. To understand the differential occurrence of sexual dimorphism in amphisbaenians, studies on a wide number of species belonging to different families and inhabiting different ecological conditions are needed. We measured several morphological variables in a population of the amphisbaenian Trogonophis wiegmanni, a representative of the little-studied family Trogonophidae from North Africa. Results show that males and females have similar body size; but for individuals of similar size, males are heavier, have longer tails, and have larger heads than do females. These differences might be explained by sexual selection, if males with larger heads had advantages in intrasexual contests, or by sexual diet differences. However, most ecological and behavioral aspects of this and other amphisbaenian species remain poorly known, thereby leaving unresolved which selective pressures are responsible for the sexual dimorphism that was evident in this species.

José Martín, Nuria Polo-Cavia, Adega Gonzalo, Pilar López, and Emilio Civantos "Sexual Dimorphism in the North African Amphisbaenian Trogonophis wiegmanni," Journal of Herpetology 46(3), (1 September 2012).
Accepted: 1 May 2011; Published: 1 September 2012

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