Life history data of lizards of the world
2016-10-27T08:50:50Z (GMT) by
Life is defined by a capacity for reproduction, yet the ways in which animals reproduce vary tremendously among species. Reproductive life histories are complex phenomena influenced by a variety of factors, such as physical condition of individuals, food supply, bauplan, and phylogenetic history, which are often correlated. Understanding life histories is crucial in evolutionary ecology because they represent different strategies that evolved to maximize individual fitness. Variation in life history can be attributed to both historical (= phylogenetic) and non-historical (= environmental) causes. We compiled a large dataset on lizard life history variables. Our dataset consists of life history data for 737 lizard populations, representing 337 species in 33 families from 280 study sites globally. About 64% of these data were collected directly by the authors. Regarding data collected by authors, we sexed lizards by dissection and direct examination of gonads. Females were considered reproductive if vitellogenic follicles or oviductal eggs were present. We regarded the simultaneous presence of enlarged vitellogenic follicles and either oviductal eggs or corpora lutea as evidence for the sequential production of more than one clutch of eggs per year. We considered clutch size as the number of vitellogenic follicles or oviductal eggs in mature females. For each population, we recorded the following variables, if available: adult female mass (g), adult female SVL (mm), female SVL at maturity (based on SVL of smallest reproductive female), offspring SVL (based on hatchling size or smallest individual in population), clutch or litter size (number of offspring per clutch or litter for all reproductive females in the population), total number of clutches or litters per year, clutch frequency (single- or multiple-brooded), relative clutch or litter mass [total volume of eggs or embryos (cc) divided by adult female mass (g)], reproductive mode (oviparous or viviparous), foraging mode (sit-and-wait or active), distribution (tropical or temperate), and preferred habitat type (aquatic, arboreal, bromelicolous, fossorial, psammophilous, saxicolous, semi-arboreal, or terrestrial). These data are valuable to test various life history hypotheses, including phylogenetic design constraints and effects of ecology and climate on reproductive tactics.