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Exploring female reproductive tactics: trade-offs between clutch size, egg mass and newborn size in lacertid lizards

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The persistence of populations is based on the optimization of reproductive processes as a means of compensating for the loss of individuals through mortality. One way of reaching this equilibrium is the coadaptation of reproductive traits defining different strategies. I explored these tactics in lacertid lizards by analysing the covariation between, on the one hand, clutch size and frequency, and on the other, egg mass, using independent contrast data from 42 species. In addition, I examined the influence of female and newborn size on these variables. All the traits investigated, with the exception of clutch frequency, are influenced by female body size, reflecting physical constraints on reproductive output. The negative trade-off between clutch size and newborn size on one hand and egg mass on the other is congruent with the partitioning of energetic resources to produce a few large or numerous small descendents. Clutch frequency is unrelated to the other female reproductive traits.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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