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Condition dependence of reproductive strategy and the benefits of polyandry in a viviparous lizard


Eizaguirre,  Christophe
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Eizaguirre, C., Laloi, D., Massot, M., Richard, M., Federici, P., & Clobert, J. (2007). Condition dependence of reproductive strategy and the benefits of polyandry in a viviparous lizard. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 274(1608), 425-430. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3740.

Species in which males do not contribute to reproduction beyond the provision of sperm offer good opportunities to study the potential genetic benefits that females can obtain from polyandry. Here, we report the results of a study examining the relationships between polyandry and components of female fitness in the common lizard (Lacerta vivipara). We found that polyandrous females produce larger clutches than monandrous females. Polyandrous females also lose fewer offspring during the later stages of gestation and at birth, but we did not find any relationship between polyandry and physical characteristics of viable neonates. Our results were consistent with the predictions of the intrinsic male quality hypothesis, while inbreeding avoidance and genetic incompatibility avoidance might also explain some part of the variation observed in clutch size. Moreover, the benefits of polyandry appeared to depend on female characteristics, as revealed by an interaction between reproductive strategy and female length on reproductive success. Thus, all females did not benefit equally from mating with multiple males, which could explain why polyandry and monandry coexist.