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Maternal reproductive output and F1 hybrid fitness may influence contact zone dynamics

Cite this dataset

Dong, Caroline (2021). Maternal reproductive output and F1 hybrid fitness may influence contact zone dynamics [Dataset]. Dryad.


The outcome of secondary contact between divergent lineages or species may be influenced by both the reproductive traits of parental species and the fitness of offspring; however, their relative contributions have rarely been evaluated, particularly in longer lived vertebrate species. We performed pure and reciprocal laboratory crosses between Ctenophorus decresii (tawny dragon) and C. modestus (swift dragon) to examine how parental reproductive traits and ecologically-relevant offspring fitness traits may explain contact zone dynamics in the wild. The two species meet in a contact zone of post-F1 hybrids with asymmetric backcrossing and predominantly C. modestus mtDNA haplotypes. We found no evidence for reduced parental fecundity or offspring fitness for F1 hybrid crosses. However, maternal reproductive strategy differed between species, irrespective of the species of their mate. Ctenophorus modestus females had higher fecundity and produced more and larger clutches with lower embryonic mortality. Parental lineage also influenced sex ratios and offspring traits, with C. modestus ♀ × C. decresii ♂ hybrids exhibiting higher trait values for more fitness measures (growth rate, sprint speed, bite force) than offspring from all other pairings. Together, these patterns are consistent with the prevalence of C. modestus mtDNA in the contact zone, and asymmetric backcrossing likely reflects fitness effects that manifest in the F2 generation. Our results highlight how parental species can influence multiple offspring traits in different ways, which together may combine to influence offspring fitness and shape contact zone dynamics.


Australian Research Council, Award: DP150101048