Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 464–474 | Cite as

The seasonal timing of reproduction:

A tropical-temperate comparison in Australian lizards
  • Craig James
  • Richard Shine
Original Papers

Summary

Dissection of 1,941 specimens provided data on reproductive cycles in six genera of skinks and three genera of agamids from the Alligator Rivers Region of Australia's Northern Territory. Comparative data on lizards from the temperate zone were gathered by dissecting specimens of three genera, and by reviewing published studies. The Alligator Rivers Region climate exhibits uniformly high temperatures but extremely seasonal rainfall. By analogy with studies on tropical herpetofaunas in other parts of the world, we hypothesised that most species would breed during the wet-season.

Instead, a great diversity in the seasonal timing of reproduction in tropical lizards was observed. For example, among the skinks,Cryptoblepharus breeds year-round,Carlia andSphenomorphus breed in the wet-season, whereasLerista, Morethia and most (but not all)Ctenotus breed during the dry-season. Among the agamids,Diporiphora andGemmatophora breed in the wet-season, andChelosania in the dry-season. Temperate-zone lizards in Australia show less interspecific variation: all species breed in late spring and summer.

Hypotheses concerning the evolutionary determinants of reproductive seasonality are reviewed in the light of these data. Thermal tolerances of developing embryos are unlikely to be important in determining breeding seasons of the Alligator Rivers Region herpetofauna, as there is little seasonal variation in temperature. Differences in reproductive timing between microsympatric species are inconsistent with hypotheses giving a major role to the seasonality of fire, flooding or intensity of predation. There is no clear association between food habits and reproductive timing. The best predictor of breeding seasonality seems to be the biogeographic history of the taxon. Alligator Rivers Region representatives of arid-zone taxa tend to breed in the dryseason, whereas representatives of mesic-adapted lineages tend to be wet-season breeders. A species from one cosmopolitan genus breeds year-round. We hypothesize that embryonic moisture tolerances may be an important determinant of breeding seasonality in this region, although some cases do not support this conclusion.

Keywords

Region Climate Breeding Season Temperate Zone Late Spring Reproductive Cycle 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allison A (1979) Fat and breeding patterns in four species of montane New Guinea lizards (Scincidae). Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, DavisGoogle Scholar
  2. Asana JJ (1931) The natural life history ofCalotes versicolor (Boulenger), the common blood sucker. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 34:1041–1047Google Scholar
  3. Ayala SC, Spain JL (1975) Annual oogenesis in the lizardAnolis auratus determined by a blood smear technique. Copeia 1975:138–141Google Scholar
  4. Ballinger RE (1977) Reproductive strategies: food availability as a source of proximal variation in a lizard. Ecology 58:628–635Google Scholar
  5. Barbault R (1975) Observations ecologiques sur la reproduction des lezardMabuya buettneri dans la savane de Lamto (Coted'Ivoire). Bull Ecol 5:105–121Google Scholar
  6. Barbault R (1976) Population dynamics and reproduction patterns of three African skinks. Copeia 1976:483–490Google Scholar
  7. Barwick RE (1965) Studies on the scincid lizardEgernia cunninghami (Gray 1932). PhD Thesis, Australian National University, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  8. Braithwaite RW (1980) Procedures for the Kakadu Fauna survey Division of Wildlife Research, CSIRO, DarwinGoogle Scholar
  9. Broadley DG (1967) The life cycles of two sympatric species ofIchnotropis (Sauria: Lacertidae). Zoologica Africana 3:1–2Google Scholar
  10. Chapman BM, Chapman RF (1964) Observations on the biology of the lizardAgama agama in Ghana. Proc Zool Soc London 143:121–132Google Scholar
  11. Cogger HG (1983) Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  12. Cogger HG, Heatwole H (1981) The Australian reptiles: origins, biogeography, distribution patterns and island evolution. In: A Keast (ed), Ecological biogeography of Australia. Junk, The Hague, pp 1337–1373Google Scholar
  13. Cuellar O (1966) Oviducal anatomy and sperm storage structures in lizards. J Morph 119:7–19Google Scholar
  14. Daniel PM (1960) Growth and cyclic behaviour of the West African lizardAgama agama africana. Copeia 1960:94–96Google Scholar
  15. Davidge C (1980) Reproduction in the herpetofaunal community of aBanksia woodland near Perth, WA. Aust J Zool 28:435–443Google Scholar
  16. Dixon JR, Soini P (1975) The reptiles of the upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos Region, Peru. I Lizards and Amphisbaenians. Milwaukee Pub Mus Contrib Biol Geol No 4, pp 58Google Scholar
  17. Duellman WE (1978) The biology of an equitorial herpetofauna. Univ Kansas Mus Nat Hist Misc Publ No 65, pp 252Google Scholar
  18. Fitch HS (1954) Life history and ecology of the five-lined skink,Eumeces fasciatus. Univ Kansas Mus Nat Hist Publ 8:1–156Google Scholar
  19. Fitch HS (1958) Natural history of the six-lined racerunner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus). Univ Kansas Mus Nat Hist Publ 11:11–62Google Scholar
  20. Fitch HS (1970) Reproductive cycles in lizards and snakes. Univ Kansas Mus Nat Hist Misc Publ No 52, pp 249Google Scholar
  21. Fitch HS (1973) A field study of Costa Rican lizards. Univ Kansas Sci Bull 50:39–126Google Scholar
  22. Fitch HS (1982) Reproductive cycles in tropical reptiles. Univ Kansas Mus Nat Hist, Occ Pap No 96: 1–53Google Scholar
  23. Fitch HS, Echelle AF, Echelle AA (1976) Field observations on rare or little known mainland anoles. Univ Kansas Sci Bull 51:91–128Google Scholar
  24. Fitch HS, Henderson RW (1978) Ecology and exploitation ofCtenosaura similis. Univ Kansas Sci Bull 51:483–500Google Scholar
  25. Gorman GC, Licht P (1974) Seasonality in ovarian cycles among tropicalAnolis lizards. Ecology 55:360–369Google Scholar
  26. Greer AE (1980) A new species ofMorethia from northern Australia, with comments on the biology and relationships of the genus. Rec Aust Mus 33:89–122Google Scholar
  27. Greer AE (1982) A new species ofLeiolopisma (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from Western Australia, with notes on the biology and relationships of other Australian species. Rec Aust Mus 34:549–573Google Scholar
  28. Greer AE (1983) The Australian scincid lizard genusCalyptotis De Vis: resurrection of the name, description of four new species, and discussion of relationships. Rec Aust Mus 35:29–59Google Scholar
  29. Guillette LJ Jr, Casas-Andreu G (1980) Fall reproductive activity in the high altitude Mexican lizard,Sceloporus grammicus microlepidotus. J Herpetol 14:143–147Google Scholar
  30. Guillette LJ Jr (1983) Notes concerning reproduction of the montane skink,Eumeces copei. J Herpetol 17:144–148Google Scholar
  31. harris VA (1964) The life of the rainbow lizard. Hutchinson Tropical Monographs, Hutchinson, LondonGoogle Scholar
  32. Hickman JL (1960) Observations on the skink lizardEgernia whitii (Lacepede). Pap Proc Roy Soc Tas 4:111–118Google Scholar
  33. Hoogmoed MS (1973) Notes on the herpetofauna of Surinam. IV The lizards and amphisbaenians of Surinam. Junk, The Hague, pp 419Google Scholar
  34. Inger RF, Greenberg B (1966) Annual reproductive patterns of lizards from a Bornean rainforest. Ecology 47:1007–1021Google Scholar
  35. James CD, Morton SR, Braithwaite RW, Wombey JC (1984) Dietary pathways through lizards of the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory. Technical Memorandum 6, Supervising Scientist for the Alligator Rivers Region. Govt Printer, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  36. Licht P (1971) Regulation of the annual testis cycle by photoperiod and temperature in the lizardAnolis carolinensis. Ecology 52:240–252Google Scholar
  37. Licht P (1973) Influence of temperature and photoperiod on the annual ovarian cycle in the lizardAnolis carolinensis. Copeia 1973:465–472Google Scholar
  38. Licht P, Gorman GC (1970) Reproductive and fat cycles in CarribbeanAnolis lizards. Univ California Publ Zool No 95:1–52Google Scholar
  39. McCann C (1940) A reptile and amphibian miscellany. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 42:45–64Google Scholar
  40. Marion KR (1970) Temperature as the reproductive cue for the female fence lizardSceloporus undulatus. Copeia 1970:562–564Google Scholar
  41. Marshall AJ, Hook R (1960) The breeding biology of equatorial vertebrates: reproduction of the lizardAgama agama lionotus Boulenger at latitude 0° 01′N. Proc Zool Soc London 134:197–205Google Scholar
  42. Mayhew WW (1963) Reproduction in the granite spiny lizard,Sceloporus orcutti. Copeia 1963:144–152Google Scholar
  43. Mayhew WW (1965) Reproduction in the sand dwelling lizardUma inornata. Herpetologica 21:39–55Google Scholar
  44. Pengilley R (1972) Systematic relationships and ecology of some Lygosomine skinks from south-eastern Australia. PhD Thesis, Australian National University, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  45. Pianka ER (1971) Ecology of the agamid lizardAmphibolurus isolepis in Western Australia. Copeia 1971:527–536Google Scholar
  46. Pianka ER (1981) Diversity and adaptive radiations of Australian desert lizards. In: A Keast (ed) Ecological biogeography of Australia. Junk, The Hague, pp 1377–1392Google Scholar
  47. Pongsapipatana S (1975) Deposition and approximate incubation period of some reptile eggs from north-eastern Thailand. Herpetological 31:360–364Google Scholar
  48. Pope CH (1929) Notes on reptiles from Fukien and other Chinese provinces. Bull Amer Mus Nat Hist 58:335–487Google Scholar
  49. Porter WP, Tracy CR (1983) Biophysical analyses of energetics, time-space utilisation, and distributional limits. In: RB Huey, ER Pianka, TW Schoener (eds) Lizard ecology: studies of a model organism. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 55–83Google Scholar
  50. Rand AS (1967) Ecology and social organisation in the iguanid lizardAnolis lineatopus. Proc US Nat Mus No 122Google Scholar
  51. Rawlinson PA (1975) Two new lizard species from the genusLeiolopisma (Scincidae: Lygosominae) in south-eastern Australia and Tasmania. Mem Natn Mus Vict 36:1–16Google Scholar
  52. Robertson P (1981) Comparative reproductive ecology of two south-eastern Australian skinks. In: CB Banks, AA Martin (eds) Proceedings of the Melbourne Herpetological Symposium, Zoological Board of Victoria, pp 25–37Google Scholar
  53. Ruibal RR, Philibosian R, Adkins JL (1972) Reproductive cycle and growth in the lizardAnolis acutus. Copeia 1972:509–518Google Scholar
  54. Sadlier R (1982) A report on the reptiles encountered in the Jabiru project area. Report to the Supervising Scientist, Alligator Rivers Region Research Institute, Jabiru, N.T.Google Scholar
  55. Saint Girons H (1957) Le cycle sexual chezVipera aspis dans l'ouest de la France. Bull Biol 91:248–330Google Scholar
  56. Saint Girons H (1982) Reproductive cycles of male snakes and their relationship with climate and female reproductive cycles. herpetologica 38:5–16Google Scholar
  57. Saint Girons H (1984) Les cycles sexuels des lezards males et leurs rapports avec le climat et les cycles reproducteurs des femelles. Annales des Sciences Naturelles Zoologie 6:221–243Google Scholar
  58. Saint Girons H, Pfeffer P (1971) Le cycle sexuel des serpentes du Cambodge. Ann Sci Nat Zool Paris 13:543–572Google Scholar
  59. Schwaner TD (1980) Reproductive biology of lizards on the American Samoan Islands. Univ Kansas Mus Nat Hist Occ Pap No 86:1–53Google Scholar
  60. Sexton OS, Ortleb EP, Hathaway LM, Ballinger R, Licht P (1971) Reproductive cycles of three species of anoline lizard from the isthmus of Panama. Ecology 52:201–205Google Scholar
  61. Shine R (1977) Reproduction in Australian elapid snakes II. Female reproductive cycles. Aust J Zool 25:655–666Google Scholar
  62. Shine R (1980a) “Costs” of reproduction in reptiles. Oecologia (Berl) 46:92–100Google Scholar
  63. Shine R (1980b) Ecology of eastern Australian whipsnakes of the genusDemansia. J Herpetol 14:381–389Google Scholar
  64. Shine R (1985a) Reproductive biology of Australian reptiles: a search for general patterns. In: GC Grigg, R Shine, H Ehmann (eds) Biology of Australasian frogs and reptiles. Surrey Beatty SydneyGoogle Scholar
  65. Shine R (1985b) Food habits, habitats and reproductive biology of four species of varanid lizards in the Alligator Rivers Region of tropical Australia. Herpetologica (in press)Google Scholar
  66. Smith MA (1935) The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol 2, Sauria. Taylor, LondonGoogle Scholar
  67. Smyth M, Smith MJ (1968) Obligatory sperm storage in the skinkHemiergis peroni. Science 161:575–576Google Scholar
  68. Smyth M, Smith MJ (1974) Aspects of the natural history of three Australian skinks,Morethia boulengeri, Menetia greyi andLerista bougainvillii. J Herpetol 8:329–335Google Scholar
  69. Stamps JA (1976) Egg retention, rainfall and egg laying in a tropical lizardAnolis aeneus. Copeia 1976:759–764Google Scholar
  70. Taylor JA (1984) Ecology of the lizardCtenotus taeniolatus. PhD thesis, University of New England, NSWGoogle Scholar
  71. Telford SR (1970) Seasonal fluctuations in liver and fat body weights of the Japanese lacertidTakydromus tachydromoides Schlegel. Copeia 1970:681–688Google Scholar
  72. Tinkle DW (1962) Reproductive potential and cycles in femaleCrotalus atrox from northwestern Texas. Copeia 1962:306–313Google Scholar
  73. Tinkle DW (1967) The life and demography of the side-blotched lizard,Uta stansburiana. Univ Mich Mus Zool Misc Publ 132:1–182Google Scholar
  74. Veron JEN (1969) The reproductive cycle of the water skinkSphenomorphus quoyi. J Herpetol 3:55–63Google Scholar
  75. Vitt LJ (1982) Reproductive tactics ofAmeiva ameiva (Lacertilia: Teiidae) in a seasonally fluctuating tropical habitat. Can J Zool 60:3113–3120Google Scholar
  76. Vitt LJ (1983) Ecology of an anuran-eating guild of terrestrial tropical snakes. Herpetological 39:52–66Google Scholar
  77. Vitt LJ, Goldberg SR (1983) Reproductive ecology of two tropical iguanid lizards:Tropidurus torquatus andPlatynotus semitaeniatus Copeia 1983:131–141Google Scholar
  78. Vitt LJ, Ohmart RD (1975) Ecology, reproduction and reproductive effort of the iguanid lizardUrosaurus graciosus on the lower Colorado River. Herpetologica 31:56–65Google Scholar
  79. Vitt LJ, Van Loben Sels RC, Ohmart RD (1978) Lizard reproduction: variation and environmental correlates in the iguanid lizardUrosaurus graciosus. Herpetologica 34:241–253Google Scholar
  80. Way C (1979) Reproduction in the scincid lizard,Ctenotus robustus. Honours thesis, Australian National University, ACTGoogle Scholar
  81. Webb GJW (1977) The natural history ofCrocodylus porosus: habitat and nesting. In: H Messel, S Butler (eds) Australian animals and their environment. Shakespeare Head, Sydney, pp 239–312Google Scholar
  82. Wilhoft DC (1963) Reproduction in the tropical Australian skink,Leiolopisma rhomboidalis. Amer Midl Nat 70:442–461Google Scholar
  83. Wilhoft DC, Reiter EO (1965) Sexual cycle of the lizard,Leiolopisma fuscum, a tropical Australian skink. J Morph 116:379–387Google Scholar
  84. Zug GR, Barber MM, Dudley JC (1982) Gonadal histology and reproduction inCarlia bicarinata (Scincidae, Sauria, Reptilia) of the Port Moresby area, Papua New Guinea. Herpetologica 38:418–425Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig James
    • 1
  • Richard Shine
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences, Zoology AO8University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations