Record Details

De Fraipont, Michelle;Clobert, Jean;Barbault, Robert
The evolution of oviparity with egg guarding and viviparity in lizards and snakes: a phylogenetic analysis
Journal Article
Iguanidae;Cyclura sp.
This paper investigates the evolution of viviparity and of egg guarding in lizards and snakes in which three modes of reproduction can be described: oviparity without egg guarding, oviparity with egg guarding, and viviparity. All possible transitions of reproductive modes were detected in each taxon using Maddison's method. We then tested two specific hypotheses. First, egg guarding can be regarded as an alternative to viviparity. A relatively frequent association of egg guarding and viviparous species in the same taxon may be due to similar environmental conditions or species characteristics leading to two different solutions. Second, egg guarding may facilitate the evolution of viviparity. This hypothesis is supported by the high frequency of viviparous species in taxa containing egg guarding species and by a tendency for prolonged uterine retention of eggs in brooding squamates. Our analyses demonstrate that the first hypothesis is the best supported. Egg guarding and viviparity most often evolved independently. If a major benefit of egg guarding is the repulsion of potential predators, size is one of the most obvious morphological characters that should be correlated with the evolution of reproductive modes. The two reproductive traits were correlated to a reduction in body size for viviparous species and an increase in body size for egg guarding species. This could partly explain why the evolution of these reproductive modes seems almost antagonist.