Costs of reproduction in a lizard species

A comparison of observational and experimental data

Mats Olsson*, Richard Shine, Erik Wapstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Life history theory predicts that increasing investments into reproduction compromises survival and future reproduction. However, demonstrating such costs is confounded by positive correlations between life history traits. For example, individuals in good condition may be good at both surviving and reproducing. We studied such processes in a viviparous snow skink lizard (Niveoscincus microlepidotus) from high elevation sites in Tasmania, Australia. Our results show a stark difference in costs of reproduction between unmanipulated females from the natural population versus experimentally manipulated females (using follicle stimulating hormones). In the unmanipulated females, females with relatively larger reproductive investments survived better than females with smaller reproductive investments. In the experimental group, however, females forced to 'over-invest' into a larger clutch survived less well than controls. Thus, our study confirms the potential dangers of non-experimental estimation of costs of reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-125
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Costs of reproduction in a lizard species: A comparison of observational and experimental data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this