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Reproduction in the bunch grass lizard sceloporus scalaris



Reproduction in the bunch grass lizard sceloporus scalaris



Herpetologica 32(2): 171-184



The reproductive cycle of S. scalaris at an elevation of 2600 m in the Chiricahua Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona, USA was determined from mark-recapture studies and autopsy of 129 .female.female. and 47 .male.male. Females were oviparous. Vitellogenesis began in early April and oviposition was complete by mid-Aug. Corpora adiposa became progressively smaller during ovarian follicle and oviducal egg development. Females matured in 8-9 mo. at approximately 47 mm snout-vent length, and produced a single clutch of about 6 eggs. Older (and larger) .female.female. produced a single clutch of about 11 eggs but began reproductive activity slightly earlier in the season than yearling .female.female. Such marked differences in fecundity in 1st and 2nd-year oviparous .female.female. have not been previously reported. Egg size in yearling and older .female.female. was similar. S. scalaris retain eggs within the oviduct at least 50 days. Most .female.female. probably hold their eggs somewhat longer. This phenomenon may represent a condition intermediate to oviparity and viviparity. The .male. reproductive cycle was determined by gross and histological examinations of testes. Males were in full breeding condition in April and May (seminiferous tubule lumina contained sperm) but became reproductively dormant by mid-June. Spermatogenic activity resumed in Aug. and Sept. Corpora adiposa during May and June represented < 1% of the total body wt in .male.male. but increased to a high of 5% in Feb. prior to sperm production. Maximum testicular and ovarian activity occurred at the same times. S. scalaris, although early maturing, possess several life history characteristics similar to those of late maturing species such as a higher reproductive effort per clutch, single broodedness, and a reduced courtship, aggressive, and territorial behavior.

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Accession: 006315744

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DOI: 10.2307/3891734


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