The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
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Bite forces have been associated with head size and shape in most lizards. However, they also depend on underlying functional factors such as erritoriality, mating, or defensive behaviors. In the project funded by the Margarethe Koenig award, rock lizards of the genus Darevskia will be studied concerning these underlying factors. This species complex was chosen as females of bisexual Darevskia species show territorial behavior, while equally sized parthenogenetic representatives do not defend the territory and produce dense aggregations in the field. We will use a wide set of state-of-the-art morphological methods to study whether bite forces differ between females of parthenogenetic and bisexual species and which adaptive features of the skull structure and jaw adductor muscle contribute to these changes in bite performance.