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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Dec;83(24):9547-50.

Behavioral facilitation of reproduction in sexual and unisexual whiptail lizards.


All-female, parthenogenetic species afford a unique test of hypotheses regarding the nature and evolution of sexuality. Mating behavior accomplishes the transfer of gametes and stimulates the coordination of reproductive activity of the male and female. Cnemidophorus uniparens, a parthenogenetic species, is believed to have resulted from the hybridization of two extant gonochoristic species, Cnemidophorus inornatus and Cnemidophorus gularis. C. uniparens regularly and reliably perform behaviors identical in form to those performed during mating by male C. inornatus. We have determined experimentally that individuals of the parthenogenetic species demonstrating male-like pseudosexual behavior also share a similarity in function with males of the sexually reproducing species. The number of female C. inornatus ovulating increases, and the latency to ovulation decreases, if a sexually active conspecific male is present. A similar facilitatory effect on ovarian recrudescence occurs in the all-female C. uniparens in the presence of a male-like individual. These results show that behavioral facilitation of ovarian recrudescence is important in sexual and unisexual species. This may represent a potent selection pressure favoring the maintenance of male-typical behaviors, thus accounting for the display of behavioral traits usually associated with males in unisexual species of hybrid origin.

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