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Clutch and egg size of the tropical lizard Tropidurus torquatus (Tropiduridae) along its geographic range in coastal eastern Brazil

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The tropidurid lizard Tropidurus torquatus (Wied, 1820) has a set of populations inhabiting coastal sand dune habitats (“restinga”) along the eastern Brazilian coast. Despite its wide geographic range, there is no information about geographic variation in reproductive features among its populations. In the present study we compared some reproductive aspects of females in 10 coastal populations of T. torquatus, aiming to evaluate to what extension they vary geographically. The minimum size at maturity was relatively similar to most populations, but mean female body size had a considerable variation. Clutch size of almost all coastal populations of T. torquatus had little variation and was composed predominantly of two eggs. Interpopulational variation in the mean egg volume was relatively wide and strongly influenced by the variation in mean female body size. The data of the present study indicated that females of almost all coastal populations of T. torquatus produce, predominantly, clutches with two eggs and invest more energy in egg size instead of clutch size, probably as a consequence of morphological and environmental factors. The increased reproductive investment in egg size was confirmed by the values obtained for the relative clutch mass, which remained relatively constant along the coastal geographic distribution of T. torquatus.

Il existe une série de populations du lézard tropidurid Tropidurus torquatus (Wied, 1820) qui habitent dans les milieux de dunes de sable côtières (« restinga ») sur la côte est du Brésil. Malgré leur aire de répartition étendue, on ne trouve pas de renseignements sur la variation géographique des caractéristiques reproductives entre les populations. Notre étude compare certains aspects de la reproduction des femelles dans 10 populations côtières de T. torquatus afin d’évaluer l’ampleur de leur variation géographique. La taille minimale à la maturité est relativement semblable dans la plupart des populations, mais la taille corporelle moyenne des femelles est très variable. La taille des couvées de presque toutes les populations côtières de T. torquatus connaît peu de variation et les couvées consistent dans la majorité des cas de deux œufs. La variation d’une population à l’autre du volume moyen des œufs est importante et elle est fortement influencée par la variation de la taille corporelle moyenne des femelles. Les données de notre étude indiquent que les femelles de presque toutes les populations côtières de T. torquatus produisent, généralement, des couvées de deux œufs et qu’elles investissent plus d’énergie dans la taille de l’œuf que dans la taille de la couvée, probablement à cause de facteurs morphologiques et environnementaux. L’investissement reproductif accru dans la taille des œufs est confirmé par la masse relative des couvées qui reste à peu près constante le long de l’aire de répartition géographique côtière de T. torquatus.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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