Faculty Publications

Title

Communal Egg-laying in Reptiles and Amphibians: Evolutionary Patterns and Hypotheses

Authors

J. Sean Doody

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

J. Sean Doody

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Date Issued

2009-09-01

Date Available

2009-09-01

ISSN

0033-5770

Abstract

Communal egg-laying is widespread among animals, occurring in insects, mollusks, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds, just to name a few. While some benefits of communal egg-laying may be pervasive (e.g., it saves time and energy and may ensure the survival of mothers and their offspring), the remarkable diversity in the life histories of the animals that exhibit this behavior presents a great challenge to discovering any general explanation. Reptiles and amphibians offer ideal systems for investigating communal egg-laying because they generally lack parental care-a simplification that brings nest site choice behavior into sharp focus. We exhaustively reviewed the published literature for data on communal egg-laying in reptiles and amphibians. Our analysis demonstrates that the behavior is much more common than previously recognized (occurring in 481 spp.), especially among lizards (N = 255 spp.), where the behavior has evolved multiple times. Our conceptual review strongly suggests that different forces may be driving the evolution and maintenance of communal egg-laying in different taxa. Using a game theory approach, we demonstrate how a stable equilibrium may occur between solitary and communal layers, thus allowing both strategies to co-exist in some populations, and we discuss factors that may influence these proportions. We conclude by outlining future research directions for determining the proximate and ultimate causes of communal egg-laying.

Comments

Citation only. Full-text article is available through licensed access provided by the publisher. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.

Language

en_US

Publisher

UNIV CHICAGO PRESS

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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