Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Geometry of sex: How body size could lead to new species

Date:
August 29, 2011
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Different species of scincid lizards, commonly known as skinks, rarely interbreed, but it's not for lack of trying. According to new research, different species of skinks in western North America will often try to mate with each other when given the opportunity, but mechanical difficulties caused by differing body sizes can cause these encounters to fail.

Different species of scincid lizards, commonly known as skinks, rarely interbreed, but it's not for lack of trying. According to Jonathan Richmond, a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey, different species of skinks in western North America will often try to mate with each other when given the opportunity, but mechanical difficulties caused by differing body sizes can cause these encounters to fail.

After observing hundreds of cross-species mating attempts in the lab, Richmond and his colleagues developed a computational model showing how size differences create reproductive barriers between skink species. In order to align their genitals for successful insemination, the male must corkscrew his body around the female. Once the sizes of the male and female diverge outside the threshold of the researchers' model, successful mating was very rare. The model elucidates the role body size plays in splitting skinks into separate species. For skinks, it apparently isn't behavioral preference that prevents gene flow between species. It's the mechanics of body size.

"As size diverges, the corkscrew fails," Richmond said. "In this case, it just happens that this is about the only thing necessary to get the ball rolling for speciation."

The research appears in the September 2011 issue of the The American Naturalist, published by The University of Chicago Press for The American Society of Naturalists.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jonathan Q. Richmond, Elizabeth L. Jockusch, Andrew M. Latimer. Mechanical Reproductive Isolation Facilitates Parallel Speciation in Western North American Scincid Lizards. The American Naturalist, 2011; 178 (3): 320 DOI: 10.1086/661240

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Geometry of sex: How body size could lead to new species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110828210652.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2011, August 29). Geometry of sex: How body size could lead to new species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110828210652.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Geometry of sex: How body size could lead to new species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110828210652.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins