The evolution of sexual dimorphism (SD) is driven by intricate interplays between sexual and natural selection. When it comes to SD variation within populations, however, environmental factors play a major role. Sexually selected traits are expected to be strongly dependent on individual body condition, which is influenced by the local environment that individuals experience. As a consequence, the degree of SD may also depend on resource availability. Here, we investigated the potential drivers of SD expression at two sexually dimorphic morphometric traits, body size (snout vent length) and head shape (head geometric morphometrics), in the Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus). We assessed the existence of condition- and context-dependent SD across ten islands of the Aeolian archipelago (southern Italy), at within- and among-population scales. We observed strong geographical variation of SD among islands, and tested three potential SD predictors related to resource availability (individual body condition, ecosystem productivity, temperature). Body condition and ecosystem productivity were the main drivers of body size SD variation, and body condition was also the main driver for head shape SD. Our results highlight that the expression of SD in the Italian wall lizard is both condition- and context-dependent. These results are congruent at within- and among-populations scales highlighting that spatial multi-scale analysis represents a useful approach to understand patterns of SD expression.
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