, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 250–255

The effects of tail autotomy on survivorship and body growth of Uta stansburiana under conditions of high mortality

  • David M. Althoff
  • John N. Thompson
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/BF00316952

Cite this article as:
Althoff, D.M. & Thompson, J.N. Oecologia (1994) 100: 250. doi:10.1007/BF00316952


We examined the effects of tail autotomy on survivorship and body growth of both adult and juvenile Uta stansburiana by directly manipulating tail condition. Tail loss decreased neither survivorship nor rate of body growth for individuals in two natural populations. Lack of an influence of tail loss on survivorship in these two populations may be the result of high mortality. Under high mortality any differential effects of tail loss will be lower than in populations facing lower mortality. Growth experiments in the laboratory demonstrated that, under conditions of minimal environmental variation and social interactions, there is no tradeoff between body growth and tail regeneration as has been suggested for other species of lizards. One possible reason for this difference is that U. stansburiana does not use the tail as a storage organ for lipids. The original and regenerated tails are composed mainly of protein. In general, any differential body growth between tailed and tailless individuals may be due to social interactions and not a diversion of limited energy into tail regeneration.

Key words

Tail autotomy High mortality Survivorship Body growth Tail content 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Althoff
    • 1
  • John N. Thompson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Botany and ZoologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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