, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 310–317 | Cite as

The energetic costs of tail autotomy to reproduction in the lizard Coleonyx brevis (Sauria: Gekkonidae)

  • Benjamin E. Dial
  • Lloyd C. Fitzpatrick


Energy reserve utilization and energy budgets were compared in tailed and tailless adult female Coleonyx brevis. Carcass, fat body and caudal energy reserves were used for vitellogenesis; mass and energy content (cal/mg and/or cal/reserve) of each were significantly lower at oviposition than at the initiation of vitellogenesis. Total energy reserves accounted for 53% of the reproductive energy investment in tailed females compared to 29% in tailless females. Tailed females had over twice as many reserve calories for egg production than tailless females. Caudal energy reserves represented 60% of the total reserves of tailed females and were one-third greater than the total energy reserves of tailless females. To produce a clutch of eggs both tailed and tailless females supplemented energy reserves with net metabolizable energy that was available after metabolic costs were paid. Tailless females had a significantly greater rate of food ingestion and more net metabolizable energy available for reproduction than tailed females, yet allocated significantly fewer calories/day to reproduction than tailed females, primarily because of the loss of caudal reserves. Reproductive efforts of tailed and tailless females were equivalent. However, the loss of caudal reserves resulted in the production of eggs that were significantly lower in mass and energy content (cal/mg and cal/egg) than when caudal reserves were used. Results empirically support the hypothesis that reproduction has energetic priority over tail regeneration in short-lived, iteroparous species with a low probability of future reproductive success.


Reproductive Success Energy Content Energy Budget Reproductive Effort Energy Reserve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin E. Dial
    • 1
  • Lloyd C. Fitzpatrick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesNorth Texas State UniversityDentonUSA

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