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Age, growth and life-history parameters of an endemic vulnerable lizard from Patagonia, Argentina

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For ectotherms like lizards, temperature plays a key role in shaping life history traits such as age and size at sexual maturity, longevity and growth. In cold, temperate habitats like Patagonia, balancing the energy expended to growth and reproduction is vital for persistence. In the present study, age and growth of the lizard Phymaturus spectabilis were studied using skeletochronology. We estimated individual ages, growth rates and life history parameters related to growth and reproduction. Juveniles were up to five years old. The youngest adult male was six years and the youngest adult female was seven years of age; females reached a higher longevity, and the oldest specimen was a female of 12 years. Resulting from the short activity season of Patagonia, P. spectabilis were characterised by delayed sexual maturity and medium longevity. Considering the rather short reproductive lifetime and small clutch size, P. spectabilis is characterised by the lowest net reproductive rate documented for liolaemids so far. This suggests that the capability to demographically recover from disturbances is low.
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Keywords: AGE; LIFE-HISTORY; LIOLAEMIDAE; SEXUAL MATURITY; SKELETOCHRONOLOGY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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