Belly up: reduced crevice accessibility as a cost of reproduction caused by increased girth in a rock-using lizard

Schwarzkopf, Lin, Barnes, Megan, and Goodman, Brett (2010) Belly up: reduced crevice accessibility as a cost of reproduction caused by increased girth in a rock-using lizard. Austral Ecology, 35 (1). 82 -86.

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Costs of reproduction are any aspect of current reproduction that has the potential to reduce survivorship or reproductive output, and may include physiological costs or increased risks. Females of many species experience increased body mass, and increased girth, when gravid. Increased body mass reduces running speed and increases the cost of locomotion during pregnancy, but few studies have examined the cost of increased girth. If increased girth of gravid females reduces access to shelter from predators or the elements, increased girth could constitute a cost of reproduction. In the laboratory, we experimentally tested whether access to crevices was limited in viviparous, saxicolous female lizards (Eulamprus brachysoma), which use crevices for shelter, by measuring access to artificial crevices of known widths, and body height during and after pregnancy. Gravid E. brachysoma had significantly greater body height (11.2% on average), and as a result were forced to use significantly wider crevices (18.4% wider on average) than post-parturition. Females with larger clutch sizes had wider mid-bodies and required larger crevices. Control females, which were not gravid at either time of testing, showed no significant change in the size of crevice they could enter over time. If access to narrow crevices provides advantages such as protection from predators, or is important for thermoregulation, then gravid females may suffer a cost of reproduction because their access to narrower crevices is limited.

Item ID: 5611
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-9993
Keywords: cost of reproduction, Eulamprus brachysoma, saxicolous, shelter site use, tropical biology
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2010 22:41
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060303 Biological Adaptation @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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