Evol Ecol Res 13: 753-757 (2011)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Average adult size in female lizards

Eric L. Charnov1 and Robin Warne2

1Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA and  2Department of Zoology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA

Correspondence: E.L. Charnov, Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.
e-mail: rlc@unm.edu


Background: In organisms with indeterminate growth, the average size (W̄̄ in mass, L̄̄ in length) of an adult is a problem in life-history evolution because it involves the size at first reproduction, Wα (or Lα), as well as the additional growth thereafter, which reflects the balance between allocation of personal production to reproduction versus growth.

Theory: Life-history evolution theory is used to predict that the average adult length L̄̄ for indeterminate growing female lizards should be about 1.2 times the body length at first reproduction, Lα, within non-growing (r = 0) populations.

Test: L̄̄ and Lα are estimated from field samples in 123 populations of 99 species.

Results: The average ratio, L̄̄/Lα, is 1.19 with a standard error for the mean of 0.008. The ratio does not correlate with Lα itself. Absence of correlation shows that r ≈ 0 even for small-bodied species, which, in turn, rejects the hypothesis that small-bodied species of lizards are r-selected compared with large-bodied species.

Keywords: Bertalanffy growth, growth curve, indeterminate growth, life-history strategy, r/K selection.

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