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Recent evidence suggests that many Australian agamids show temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) with variation in sex determining mechanisms among closely related taxa. However, as shown in other vertebrates, sex ratios can also be influenced by genetic or phenotypic differences among females in their propensity to produce sons or daughters, and these influences might confound any thermal effects of incubation per se. To address these issues, we investigated the determinants of sex ratios in the mallee dragon Ctenophorus fordi, together with a detailed analysis of karyotypes. There was no detectable variation in sex ratios arising from variation among females, clutches or incubation temperatures, which might indicate genetic sex determination for this species. However, there was no evidence of cytologically distinct sex chromosomes using standard banding techniques. The sex ratio pattern in C. fordi strongly contrasts with the results for the congener Ctenophorus pictus, where sex ratios show variation among females. Thus, Australian agamids offer promising opportunities to address fundamental issues in sex ratio biology.

Original publication




Journal article


Integr Zool

Publication Date





157 - 165