Sex-based differences and similarities in locomotor performance, thermal preferences, and escape behaviour in the lizard Platysaurus intermedius wilhelmi

Physiol Biochem Zool. Jul-Aug 2003;76(4):511-21. doi: 10.1086/376423.


Differences between sexes in physiological performance have received little attention in animals. We tested for sex differences in maximum sprint speed and maximal exertion over a range of temperatures in a population of Platysaurus intermedius wilhelmi lizards. We also examined sex-based differences in selected temperature range, mean field body temperatures (T(b)), and thermal activity limits. Finally, we conducted field studies to quantify male and female responses to a potential predator, which may be affected by their respective performance capabilities. Males were faster than females at all temperatures, and body size had no significant effect on sprint speeds. Males and females also selected similar T(b)'s when placed in a thermal gradient, but in the field, male lizards' T(b)'s were different from those of the females. However, predicted sprint speeds for males and females at their field T(b)'s are similar. No significant differences were found between males and females with regard to maximal exertion. When approached in the field, adult male lizards took refuge significantly earlier than did adult females and also fled over shorter distances, suggesting that females rely on crypsis as an escape strategy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Escape Reaction / physiology*
  • Female
  • Lizards / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Temperature*