Theoretical models of the advantage of sexual reproduction typically assume that reproductive output is equal in sexual and parthenogenetic females. We tested this assumption by comparing fecundity between parthenogenetic and sexual races of gekkonid lizards in the Heteronotia binoei complex, collected across a 1200 km latitudinal gradient through the Australian arid zone. Under laboratory conditions, parthenogenetic geckos had approximately 30% lower fecundity when compared with their sexual progenitors, irrespective of body size. Reflecting clutch-size constraints in gekkonids, this fecundity difference was mainly because of fewer clutches over a shorter period. When parthenogens were compared more broadly with all coexisting sexual races across the latitudinal gradient, parthenogens had lower fecundity than sexuals only when corrected for body size. Differences in fecundity between parthenogens and coexisting sexual races depended on which sexual race was considered. There was no significant relationship between fecundity and parasite (mite) load, despite significantly higher mite loads in parthenogens than in sexual races.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Evolutionary Biology|
|Publication status||Published - May 2005|