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How accurately do behavioural observations predict reproductive success in free-ranging lizards?

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Olsson, M, Schwartz, TS, Wapstra, E ORCID: 0000-0002-2050-8026 and Shine, R 2019 , 'How accurately do behavioural observations predict reproductive success in free-ranging lizards?' , Biology Letters, vol. 15, no. 2 , pp. 1-4 , doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0030.

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Abstract

Behavioural ecologists often use data on patterns of male–female association to infer reproductive success of free-ranging animals. For example, a male seen with several females during the mating season is predicted to father more offspring than a male not seen with any females. We explored the putative correlation between this behaviour and actual paternity (as revealed by microsatellite data) from a long-term study on sand lizards (Lacerta agilis), including behavioural observations of 574 adult males and 289 adult females, and paternity assignment of more than 2500 offspring during 1998-2007. The number of males that contributed paternity to a female's clutch was correlated with the number of males seen accompanying her in the field, but not with the number of copulation scars on her body. The number of females that a male accompanied in the field predicted the number of females with whom he fathered offspring, and his annual reproductive success (number of progeny). Although behavioural data explained less than one-third of total variance in reproductive success, our analysis supports the utility of behavioural-ecology studies for predicting paternity in free-ranging reptiles.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Olsson, M and Schwartz, TS and Wapstra, E and Shine, R
Keywords: fitness, Lacertidae, reproductive output, reptile, Sweden
Journal or Publication Title: Biology Letters
Publisher: Royal Society Publishing
ISSN: 1744-9561
DOI / ID Number: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0030
Copyright Information:

2019 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited

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