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Improved nutritional status may promote an "asset protection" reproductive strategy in male rock lizards

Citation

Rodriguez-Ruiz, Gonzalo et al. (2021), Improved nutritional status may promote an "asset protection" reproductive strategy in male rock lizards , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pk0p2ngp0

Abstract

Investing in the current reproduction requires diverting energy resources from other metabolic functions, which may compromise future reproduction and lifespan. To solve this trade-off, an individual may consider its labile state to decide how much to invest in current reproduction. We tested experimentally whether the "state quality" of male rock lizards influences their reproductive strategies. To improve the nutritional status of males before the mating season, we captured and supplemented experimental males (N = 20) with dietary vitamin D3 (an essential nutrient for lizards) and had a control group of males (N = 20). Then, we released all these males and females (N = 31) in a large semi-natural outdoor enclosure where lizards could interact and mate freely during the mating period. Activity levels of males did not vary between treatments, but supplemented males started fewer intrasexual agonistic interactions and made fewer mating advances to females. When the mating season ended, we incubated eggs laid by females to obtain the offspring and estimated the paternity of males using DNA microsatellites. Supplemented males sired fewer offspring than control males. These results suggest that vitamin D3 supplemented males used a low risk/less costly mating strategy to protect their assets (i.e. vitamin D reserves), but that still resulted in "some" current reproductive success, while likely increasing longevity and the expected future total reproductive success.

Methods

See readme file

Funding

Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, Award: MINECO CGL2014-53523-P