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Data from: Feed or fight: testing the impact of food availability and intraspecific aggression on the functional ecology of an island lizard

Citation

Donihue, Colin M.; Brock, Kinsey M.; Foufopoulos, Johannes; Herrel, Anthony (2016), Data from: Feed or fight: testing the impact of food availability and intraspecific aggression on the functional ecology of an island lizard, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.65tt7

Abstract

Body size often varies among insular populations relative to continental conspecifics – the ‘island rule’ – and functional, context-dependent morphological differences tend to track this body size variation on islands. Two hypotheses are often proposed as potential drivers of insular population differences in morphology: one relating to diet and the other involving intraspecific competition and aggression. We directly tested whether differences in morphology and maximum bite capacity were explained by interisland changes in hardness of both available and consumed prey, and levels of lizard-to-lizard aggression among small-island populations. Our study included 11 islands in the Greek Cyclades and made use of a gradient in island area spanning five orders of magnitude. We focused on the widespread lizard Podarcis erhardii. We found that on smaller islands, P. erhardii body size was larger, head height was larger relative to body size, and maximum bite capacity became proportionally stronger. This pattern in morphology and performance was not related to differences in diet, but was highly correlated with proxies of intraspecific aggression – bite scars and missing toes. Our findings suggest that critical functional traits such as body size and bite force in P. erhardii follow the predictions of the island rule and are changing in response to changes in the competitive landscape across islands of different sizes.

Usage Notes

Location

Greece
Naxos
Cyclade Islands