Sexual selection and natural selection in body size differentiation of subterranean mole rats

E. Nevo, A. Beiles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We exlored indirectly, the operation of sexual selection in subterranean mole rats of the Spalax ebrenbergi superspecies in Israel comprising four chromosomal species, 2n = 52, 54, 58 and 60. We reanalzed two previously available data sets of 1. body size differentiation (Nevo et al. 1986a) and 2. the intensity of “Total Aggression” in mole rats (Nevo et al. 1986b). We correlated the mean size difference between the two sexes, in each of the 12 populations of the chromosomal species, with the mean level of agression, and with climatic factors, both displaying significant correlations. The results indicated that for 2n = 52, 54, 58 and 60, the population averae difference in body weight between the sexes decreases southward as follows: 37.7g (30.8 % of females body weight), 39.3g(29.0%) 26.3g(22.8%) and 20.3g (19.3%), respectively. We interpret the higher body size diherential ketween the sexes in the north as due to sexual selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-269
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1989


  • Aggression
  • Mole rats
  • Natural selection
  • Sexual selection
  • Sexual size dimorphism
  • Spalax ehrenbergi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Sexual selection and natural selection in body size differentiation of subterranean mole rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this