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We analyse the stellar mass-to-light ratio (M/L) gradients in a large sample of local galaxies taken from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, spanning a wide range of stellar masses and morphological types. As suggested by the well-known relationship between M/L values and colours, we show that M/L gradients are strongly correlated with colour gradients, which we trace to the effects of age variations. Stellar M/L gradients generally follow patterns of variation with stellar mass and galaxy type that were previously found for colour and metallicity gradients. In late-type galaxies M/L gradients are negative, steepening with increasing mass. In early-type galaxies M/L gradients are shallower, while presenting a twofold trend: they decrease with mass up to a characteristic mass of Graphic and increase at larger masses. We compare our findings with other analyses and discuss some implications for galaxy formation and for dark matter estimates.


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