Proximate Constraints on the Evolution of Egg Size, Number, and Total Clutch Mass in Lizards

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Science  31 May 1991:
Vol. 252, Issue 5010, pp. 1300-1302
DOI: 10.1126/science.252.5010.1300


Proximate constraints on egg size, number, and total clutch mass in side-blotched lizards were examined by experimentally reducing average clutch size from 4.6 eggs to one, two, and three eggs. Eggs from experimentally altered clutches were larger than those from controls, reflecting the trade-off between egg size and number. Moreover, the increased frequency of females with oviducally bound eggs or eggs that burst at oviposition suggests that egg size in clutches with very few eggs are at a functional upper size limit. These proximate constraints may also limit evolution of egg size in another group of lizards (Anolis) that only produces one-egged clutches.