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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Communal egg-laying behaviour and the consequences of egg aggregation in the brown anole (Anolis sagrei)

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Dees, Allison [1] ; Wilson, Kayla [1, 2] ; Reali, Chanel [1] ; Pruett, Jenna E. [1] ; Hall, Joshua M. [1] ; Brandt, Renata [1, 3, 4] ; Warner, Daniel A. [1]
Total Authors: 7
[1] Auburn Univ, Dept Biol Sci, Auburn, AL 36849 - USA
[2] Univ Alabama, Dept Biol Sci, Huntsville, AL 35899 - USA
[3] Laurentian Univ, Sch Environm, Sudbury, ON - Canada
[4] Sci North, Sudbury, ON - Canada
Total Affiliations: 4
Document type: Journal article
Source: Ethology; v. 126, n. 7 APR 2020.
Web of Science Citations: 0

Communal nesting is a behaviour that involves multiple females laying eggs in the same nest or nesting site. This behaviour may be a consequence of a shortage of preferable nest sites (constraint hypothesis) or an adaptation generated by fitness benefits associated with egg aggregation (adaptive hypothesis). Experimental tests of these hypotheses require information about maternal nest site choice and its fitness consequences. To address these, we studied a lizard (brown anole; Anolis sagrei) that produces single-egg clutches, but often aggregates eggs in nest sites. In a lab study, females were given the option of nesting in (a) soil previously used as nest substrate vs. fresh soil and (b) soil with eggshells vs. without eggshells. We also experimentally examined the effects of egg aggregation by incubating eggs singly, in groups of four, and in groups of nine. We recorded egg surface temperature, water uptake, and hatchling morphology. Females were more likely to nest in pots with used soil and with eggshells than in pots with fresh soil or without eggshells. We observed no effects of egg aggregation on egg survival, egg temperature, or most measures of hatchling morphology. However, singly-incubated eggs absorbed more water than eggs incubated in the four and nine egg aggregations and this resulted in offspring with greater body condition (i.e. heavier for their length) at hatching. The behavioural experiment demonstrates that females actively choose nest sites that have been used previously (as expected under the adaptive hypothesis), but the egg-aggregation experiment shows no benefits to offspring based on the variables measured. Thus, results of the behaviour study support the adaptive hypothesis; however, results from our egg-incubation study do not. Likely, the adaptive and constraint hypotheses are not mutually exclusive, and a diversity of factors influence the evolution of communal nesting behaviour. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 16/01558-3 - Facultative sex allocation in response to Operational or Juvenile Sex Ratios in the brown anole, Anolis sagrei
Grantee:Renata Brandt Nunes
Support type: Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
FAPESP's process: 13/14125-0 - Integrative analysis of sexual dimorphism in lizards: morphology, functional significance and selection
Grantee:Renata Brandt Nunes
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate