Lower fecundity in parthenogenetic geckos than sexual relatives in the Australian arid zone

M. Kearney*, R. Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-618
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Fecundity
  • Lizard
  • Parthenogenesis
  • Reproduction
  • Sex


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