Reproductive burden, locomotor performance, and the cost of reproduction in free ranging lizards

Evolution. 2000 Aug;54(4):1386-95. doi: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2000.tb00570.x.


A reduction in the locomotor capacity of gravid females is considered to be a cost of reproduction if it leads to an increased risk of mortality. In this study, we measured the change in endurance between gravid and postgravid female side-blotched lizards (Uta stansburiana) as a test of the cost of reproduction. We also altered reproductive investment in some females by direct ovarian manipulation (yolkectomy), which decreased reproductive burden by 30%. Regardless of experimental treatment, all females had lower endurance when gravid. Endurance was 28% lower in gravid females from the yolkectomy treatment and 31% lower in the unmanipulated females relative to postoviposition females. The experimental reduction in clutch mass resulted in a 21% increase in endurance of gravid yolkectomy females relative to control females. Postovipositional endurance was significantly higher in the yolkectomized females than unmanipulated females, which suggests that the cost of reproduction carries over to postoviposition performance. Unmanipulated females exhibited a significant negative association between endurance and size-specific burden. Endurance was not correlated with clutch size or size-specific burden in the yolkectomy females. Survivorship to the second clutch was higher in the yolkectomy females. The results from a logistic regression showed the probability of survival to the second clutch was significantly and positively associated with endurance after controlling for the effects of treatment. Our analyses demonstrated that the decrement in performance associated with current reproductive investment represents a cost of reproduction expressed as diminished locomotor performance and lowered survivorship to the next clutch.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Lizards / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Oviducts / physiology
  • Oviposition
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Selection, Genetic