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Sexual size dimorphism and female reproduction in the white-striped grass lizard Takydromus wolteri

Keywords: Reptilia , Lacertidae , Takydromus wolteri , Sexual size dimorphism , Female reproduction

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Abstract:

Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) has long attracted the attention of biologists, and life-history variation is thought to play an important role in the evolution of SSD. Here we quantified SSD and female reproductive traits to identify potential associations between SSD and female reproduction in the white-striped grass lizard Takydromus wolteri. In a population from Chuzhou, China, the largest male and female were 53.0 mm and 57.5 mm in snout-vent length (SVL), respectively. Females were larger in SVL and abdomen length, whereas males were larger in head size and tail length. Females produced up to five clutches of eggs during the breeding season, with large females producing more clutches and more eggs per clutch than small ones. As a result, large females had a higher annual fecundity and reproductive output. Egg size was positively correlated with maternal SVL in the first clutch, but not in subsequent clutches. These results suggest that T. wolteri is a species with female-biased SSD, and that fecundity selection, in which large females have higher fecundity due to their higher capacity for laying eggs, is likely correlated with the evolution of SSD in this species [Current Zoology 58 (2): 236-243, 2012].

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