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Martín, J. & López, P. (2006) Vitamin D supplementation increases the attractiveness of males' scent for female Iberian rock lizards. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London - Biological Sciences, 273 2619–2624. 
Resource type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3619
BibTeX citation key: Martin2006
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Categories: Englisch = English
Keywords: Echsen = Lizards, Reptilien = Reptiles, Vitamin D = Vitamin D
Creators: López, Martín
Collection: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London - Biological Sciences
Abstract
Evolutionary theory proposes that signals used in sexual selection can only be stable if they are honest and condition dependent. However, despite the fact that chemical signals are used by many animals, empirical research has mainly focused on visual and acoustic signals. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for lizards, but in some lizards its precursor (cholesta-5,7-dien-3-ol=provitamin D) is found in femoral gland secretions, which males use for scent marking and intraspecific communication. By allocating provitamin D to secretions, males might need to divert vitamin D from metabolism. This might be costly and condition dependent. We tested whether diet quality affected chemical signals of male Iberian rock lizards (Lacerta monticola) and its consequences for sexual selection. After experimental supplementation of dietary vitamin D, males increased the proportion of provitamin D in femoral secretions. Further experiments showed that females detected these changes in males' signals by chemosensory cues, and discriminated provitamin D, and changes in its concentration, from similar steroids (i.e. cholesterol) found in secretions. Moreover, females preferred areas scent marked by males with more provitamin D in their secretions. This mechanism would confer honesty to chemical signals of male lizards, and, thus, females may rely on it to select high-quality males. We suggest that the allocation of vitamins and other essential nutrients to either visual (e.g. carotenoids) or chemical ornaments might be the common basis of honest sexual displays in many animals.

Keywords: sexual selection, chemical signals, vitamin D, mate choice, lizards
  
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