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Data from: Life-history patterns of lizards of the world

Cite this dataset

Mesquita, Daniel et al. (2016). Data from: Life-history patterns of lizards of the world [Dataset]. Dryad.


Identification of mechanisms that promote variation in life history traits is critical to understand the evolution of divergent reproductive strategies. Here we compiled a large life-history dataset (674 lizard populations, representing 297 species from 263 sites globally) to test a number of hypotheses regarding the evolution of life history traits in lizards. We found significant phylogenetic signal in most life history traits, although phylogenetic signal was not particularly high. Climatic variables influenced the evolution of many traits, with clutch frequency being positively related to precipitation and clutches of tropical lizards being smaller than those of temperate species. This result supports the hypothesis that in tropical and less seasonal climates, many lizards tend to reproduce repeatedly through the season producing smaller clutches during each reproductive episode. Our analysis also supported the hypothesis that viviparity has evolved in lizards as a response to cooler climates. Finally, we also found that variation in trait values explained by clade membership is unevenly distributed among lizard clades with basal clades and a few younger clades showing most variation. Our global analyses are largely consistent with life history theory and previous results based on smaller and scattered datasets, suggesting that these patterns are remarkably consistent across geographic and taxonomic scales.

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