Cues for communal egg-laying in lizards (Bassiana duperreyi, Scincidae)

Melanie J. Elphick*, David A. Pike, Chalene Bezzina, Richard Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Animals may aggregate either because the presence of conspecifics provides information about habitat suitability, or because the presence of conspecifics directly enhances individual viability. For a female lizard, the advantage of laying her eggs in a communal nest may entail either information transfer (hatched eggshells show that the site has been successful in previous seasons) or direct physiological benefits (recently-laid eggs can enhance water availability to other eggs). We tested the relative importance of these two mechanisms in the three-lined alpine skink (Bassiana duperreyi Gray, 1838) by offering gravid females a choice between sites with hatched eggshells versus freshly-laid eggs. Females selectively oviposited beside fresh eggs. In this species, early-nesting females use information transfer (i.e. the presence of old eggshells) as a nest-site criterion, whereas later nesters switch to a reliance on direct benefits of conspecific presence (i.e. the presence of freshly-laid eggs).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-842
Number of pages4
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume110
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • aggregation
  • oviposition site choice
  • proximate cues
  • reproduction

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