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Seasonal shifts along the oviparity-viviparity continuum in a cold-climate lizard population


Shine, R and Wapstra, E and Olsson, M, Seasonal shifts along the oviparity-viviparity continuum in a cold-climate lizard population, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 31, (1) pp. 4-13. ISSN 1010-061X (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 European Society for Evolutionary Biology

DOI: doi:10.1111/jeb.13202


Squamate embryos require weeks of high temperature to complete development, with the result that cool climatic areas are dominated by viviparous taxa (in which gravid females can sun-bask to keep embryos warm) rather than oviparous taxa (which rely on warm soil to incubate their eggs). How, then, can some oviparous taxa reproduce successfully in cool climates- especially late in summer, when soil temperatures are falling? Near the northern limit of their distribution (in Sweden), sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) shift tactics seasonally, such that the eggs in late clutches complete development more quickly (when incubated at a standard temperature) than do those of early clutches. That acceleration is achieved by a reduction in egg size and by an increase in the duration of uterine retention of eggs (especially, after cool weather). Our results clarify the ability of oviparous reptiles to reproduce successfully in cool climates and suggest a novel advantage to reptilian viviparity in such conditions: by maintaining high body temperatures, viviparous females may escape the need to reduce offspring size in late-season litters.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:life-history evolution, reproductive mode, seasonality, thermal biology, reptile, adaptation, life history
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biological adaptation
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Associate Professor Erik Wapstra)
ID Code:128902
Year Published:2018
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT110100597)
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2018-10-23
Last Modified:2019-03-28

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