Estimating encounter rates as the first step of sexual selection in the lizard Anolis sagrei

Ambika Kamath, Jonathan B. Losos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


How individuals move through their environment dictates which other individuals they encounter, determining their social and reproductive interactions and the extent to which they experience sexual selection. Specifically, females rarely have the option of mating with all males in a population-they can only choose among the males they encounter. Further, quantifying phenotypic differences between the males that females encounter and those that sire females’ offspring lends insight into how social and reproductive interactions shape male phenotypes. We used an explicitly spatio-temporal Markov chain model to estimate the number of potential mates of Anolis sagrei lizards from their movement behaviour, and used genetic paternity assignments to quantify sexual selection on males. Females frequently encountered and mated with multiple males, offering ample opportunity for female mate choice. Sexual selection favoured males that were bigger and moved over larger areas, though the effect of body size cannot be disentangled from last-male precedence. Our approach corroborates some patterns of sexual selection previously hypothesized in anoles based on describing them as territorial, whereas other results, including female multiple mating itself, are at odds with territorial polygyny, offering insight into discrepancies in other taxa between behavioural and genetic descriptions of mating systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20172244
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1873
StatePublished - Feb 28 2018


  • Anole
  • Encounter rates
  • Mating system
  • Polygyny
  • Territoriality
  • Territory


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