Long-term monitoring reveals invariant clutch size and unequal reproductive costs between sexes in a subtropical lacertid lizard



Abstract Based on 20,000 records representing c. 11,000 individuals from an 8-year capture-mark-recapture (CMR) study, we tested and confirmed a new case of invariant clutch size (ICS) in a sexually dichromatic lacertid lizard, Takydromus viridipunctatus. In the grassland habitat of the early succession stage, females showed strictly low and invariant clutch size, multiple clutches in a breeding season, high reproductive potential, and annual breeding cycles that correspond to the emergence of male courtship coloration. The hatchlings mature quickly, and join the adult cohort for breeding within a few months, whereas adults show low survival rates and a short lifespan, such that most die within one year. Mortality increased in both sexes during the breeding season, especially in females, indicating an unequal cost of reproduction in survival. These life history characters may be explained by two non-exclusive hypotheses of ICS—arboreal hypothesis and predation hypothesis—within the ecological context of their habitat. Our study highlights a confirmed case of ICS, which adapts well to this r-selected grassland habitat that experiences seasonal fluctuation and frequent disturbance.
Date made available2020
PublisherUnknown Publisher

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