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Can morphometrics predict sex in varanids?

Smith, James G., Brook, Barry W., Griffiths, Anthony D. and Thompson, G. G. (2007). Can morphometrics predict sex in varanids?. Journal of Herpetology,41(1):133-140.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Can morphometrics predict sex in varanids?
Author Smith, James G.
Brook, Barry W.
Griffiths, Anthony D.
Thompson, G. G.
Journal Name Journal of Herpetology
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 41
Issue Number 1
ISSN 0022-1511   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-34248578050
Start Page 133
End Page 140
Total Pages 8
Place of Publication St Louis, United States of America
Publisher Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Varanid lizards are difficult to sex in the field because commonly used techniques are not completely reliable and definitive techniques are not logistically or economically feasible for many field-based applications. Previous work has shown that variation in morphometric variables can be used to determine sex in some species of varanid. Here we build on these previous exploratory analyses by developing a set of a priori models (containing morphometric variables) to predict the sex of six species of Australian varanid, and then examining their relative support under the information-theoretic framework. We then use cross-validation procedures to determine the reliability of the best-supported models' predictive ability. Our analysis suggests that a large sample size is required for building models to predict sex in many species. The most important sexually diagnostic features for many species were a number of head variables and (to a lesser extent) scaling of limb proportions. This analysis provides some useful statistical tools for the field-sexing of adult and juvenile Varanus gouldii with a known level of reliability and also serves to highlight the danger of extrapolating from potentially spurious results when using exploratory methods or null hypothesis testing.
Keywords BODY-SIZE
DOI[133:CMPSIV]2.0.CO;2   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
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