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The Relationship between Reproduction and Lipid Cycling in the Skink Eumeces laticeps with Comments on Brooding Ecology

Laurie J. Vitt and William E. Cooper, Jr.
Herpetologica
Vol. 41, No. 4 (Dec., 1985), pp. 419-432
Published by: Allen Press on behalf of the Herpetologists' League
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3892111
Page Count: 14
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The Relationship between Reproduction and Lipid Cycling in the Skink Eumeces laticeps with Comments on Brooding Ecology
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Abstract

Reproduction and lipid cycling of the broad-headed skink (Eumeces laticeps) were studied from 1982 through 1984. Both sexes become active in early spring and mate from late April to early June. Females deposit eggs in nests constructed in rotted areas of hardwood logs during June. The male reproductive cycle is similar to that of most temperate zone lizards, in which testes are enlarged in spring but are subsequently reduced in size as breeding activities are terminated. Vitellogenesis in females commences in April, with ovulation and egg laying occurring from mid-May through Mid-June. Clutch size varies from 9-18. Females remain with the nest until eggs hatch. Clutches of eggs may be moved by females in the field, an apparent response to nesting conditions becoming unfavorable. Eggs gain over 60% of their original mass prior to hatching, but the hatchlings weigh considerably less than recently laid eggs. The brooding period lasts approximately 48 days. Hatchlings appear during late July to mid-August. Sexual maturity is reached at an age of 21 mo in both sexes, and virtually all sexually mature females in the population breed each year. The pattern of lipid cycling for males and females is inversely associated with reproduction. Lipid reserves are reduced during reproduction and are increased at other times. In both sexes, lipids in carcasses, tails, and fat bodies cycle with reproduction, and the tail alone comprises nearly half of the standing lipids in an individual.

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