Variation in size and condition of neonate pygmy bluetongue lizards, Tiliqua adelaidensis
Schofield, Julie Anne
Bull, Christopher Michael
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Phenotypic variation among offspring of individual animals is an important life-history trait. In viviparous lizards, it could result from genetic variation of individuals and also differences in environments experienced by mothers during gestation. We investigated variation in phenotype and survival of neonate pygmy bluetongue lizards, Tiliqua adelaidensis, over three sampling years. We explored changes in body condition, using body size residuals as an index, and body size (snout-vent length (SVL) and mass) of neonates. For litters that were captured with their mothers, we hypothesised that body condition and size of offspring are influenced by the condition and size of their mothers, presence of mothers in the burrow and litter size. We found that there were significant variations in body condition and mass of neonates among years. There was no significant relationship between neonate body condition, mass and SVL and post-partum body condition of their mothers. Results revealed that females with higher SVL produced larger litters. None of the analyses showed any effect of mother’s presence on neonate body condition, SVL or mass. Neither was there any effect of observed litter size on these parameters. Our findings have important conservation implications for this endangered species, given that the aim of conservation managers is to encourage conditions that promote optimum body condition and fitness in offspring in order to maximise their survival in fragmented habitats.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA on 9 June 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03721426.2015.1045312. This item is under embargo for a period of 12 months from the date of publication