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Extreme plasticity in reproductive biology of an oviparous lizard


Olsson, M and Loeb, L and Lindsay, W and Wapstra, E and Fitzpatrick, L and Shine, R, Extreme plasticity in reproductive biology of an oviparous lizard, Ecology and Evolution, 8, (13) pp. 6384-6389. ISSN 2045-7758 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1002/ece3.4247


Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Most oviparous squamate reptiles lay their eggs when embryos have completed less than one-third of development, with the remaining two-thirds spent in an external nest. Even when females facultatively retain eggs in dry or cold conditions, such retention generally causes only a minor (<10%) decrease in subsequent incubation periods. In contrast, we found that female sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) from an experimentally founded field population (established ca. 20 years ago on the southwest coast of Sweden) exhibited wide variation in incubation periods even when the eggs were kept at standard (25°C) conditions. Females that retained eggs in utero for longer based on the delay between capture and oviposition produced eggs that hatched sooner. In the extreme case, eggs hatched after only 55% of the "normal" incubation period. Although the proximate mechanisms underlying this flexibility remain unclear, our results from this first full field season at the new study site show that females within a single cold-climate population of lizards can span a substantial proportion of the continuum from "normal" oviparity to viviparity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:developmental plasticity, incubation, Lacertidae, reproductive mode, reproductive ecology, life history evolution, reptiles
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Professor Erik Wapstra)
UTAS Author:Fitzpatrick, L (Dr Luisa Fitzpatrick)
ID Code:128899
Year Published:2018
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT110100597)
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2018-10-23
Last Modified:2019-03-05
Downloads:120 View Download Statistics

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