Cues for communal egg-laying in lizards (Bassiana duperreyi, Scincidae)

Elphick, Melanie J., Pike, David A., Bezzina, Chalene, and Shine, Richard (2013) Cues for communal egg-laying in lizards (Bassiana duperreyi, Scincidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 110 (4). pp. 839-842.

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Animals may aggregate either because the presence of conspecifics provides information about habitat suitability, or because the presence of conspecifics directly enhances individual viability. For a female lizard, the advantage of laying her eggs in a communal nest may entail either information transfer (hatched eggshells show that the site has been successful in previous seasons) or direct physiological benefits (recently-laid eggs can enhance water availability to other eggs). We tested the relative importance of these two mechanisms in the three-lined alpine skink (Bassiana duperreyi Gray, 1838) by offering gravid females a choice between sites with hatched eggshells versus freshly-laid eggs. Females selectively oviposited beside fresh eggs. In this species, early-nesting females use information transfer (i.e. the presence of old eggshells) as a nest-site criterion, whereas later nesters switch to a reliance on direct benefits of conspecific presence (i.e. the presence of freshly-laid eggs).

Item ID: 28844
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8312
Keywords: aggregation; oviposition site choice; proximate cues; reproduction
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2013 22:22
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060303 Biological Adaptation @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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