, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 1645-1652
Date: 03 Feb 2010

Predominance of single paternity in the black spiny-tailed iguana: conservation genetic concerns for female-biased hunting

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Because of female-biased illegal harvesting, knowledge about the genetic mating system of the black spiny-tailed iguana Ctenosaura pectinata is of primary interest for the conservation of this threatened species. Based on the high levels of multiple paternity found in clutches of many other reptiles, particularly in lizards, it is hypothesised that multiple paternity may also be common in black iguanas. This was investigated by using microsatellite DNA to estimate the number of males siring nine litters (9 mothers, 121 offspring genotyped at ten polymorphic loci) of black iguanas. Contrary to expectations, only 11% of sampled black iguana females produced litters consistent with being sired by multiple males. These data are the first evidence for the predominance of single paternity within an iguanid lizard, and suggest that black iguana may be more susceptible to loss of genetic variation in the face of gender-biased over-hunting pressure than previously thought.