Sexual selection drives asymmetric introgression in wall lizards

Geoffrey M. While, Sozos Michaelides, Robert J.P. Heathcote, Hannah E.A. Macgregor, Natalia Zajac, Joscha Beninde, Pau Carazo, Guillem Pérez i de Lanuza, Roberto Sacchi, Marco A.L. Zuffi, Terézia Horváthová, Belén Fresnillo, Ulrich Schulte, Michael Veith, Axel Hochkirch, Tobias Uller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Hybridisation is increasingly recognised as an important cause of diversification and adaptation. Here, we show how divergence in male secondary sexual characters between two lineages of the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) gives rise to strong asymmetries in male competitive ability and mating success, resulting in asymmetric hybridisation upon secondary contact. Combined with no negative effects of hybridisation on survival or reproductive characters in F1-hybrids, these results suggest that introgression should be asymmetric, resulting in the displacement of sexual characters of the sub-dominant lineage. This prediction was confirmed in two types of secondary contact, across a natural contact zone and in two introduced populations. Our study illustrates how divergence in sexually selected traits via male competition can determine the direction and extent of introgression, contributing to geographic patterns of genetic and phenotypic diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1366-1375
Number of pages10
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
& Sons Ltd/CNRS.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Female choice
  • Hybridisation
  • Introgression
  • Lizards
  • Male-male competition


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