Reproductive characteristics of the lacertid lizard Podarcis atrata
Copeia / American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. - Washington, D.C.
, p. 748-756
University of Antwerp
We report reproductive characteristics (timing of sexual maturity, clutch frequency, clutch size, egg and hatchling sizes) of the Island Lizard Podarcis atrata. Reproductive performance was related to female size. The larger females initiate reproductive activities early in the season and produce two to four clutches annually, whereas the smaller individuals postpone reproduction until the season is well advanced and lay only a single clutch. Clutch size increased with female length and was slightly lower for clutches laid during June-July than for those produced during May. Among-clutch differences in egg mass were negatively correlated with clutch size, and this relationship is independent of female size. Larger clutches are also composed of less elongated (i.e., rounder) eggs than are smaller clutches, suggesting that the phenotypic trade-off between egg size and numbers is induced by limitations posed by the females' body volume, rather than by restrictions of energy availability. Comparison of reproductive traits of P. atrata to those of the closely related P. hispanica and P. bocagei indicates that the increase in body length during the evolutionary divergence of P. atrata was not associated with an increase in clutch size. This provides a clear exception to the general pattern found in lacertid lizards.