Life history and physiological ecology of the lizard, Cordylus Giganteus

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Louw, Gideon en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Turner, Scott en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Nicolson, Sue W en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Van Wyk, Johannes H en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-12-28T06:10:42Z
dc.date.available 2015-12-28T06:10:42Z
dc.date.issued 1992 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Van Wyk, J. 1992. Life history and physiological ecology of the lizard, Cordylus Giganteus. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/16002
dc.description Bibliography: pages 243-268. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract Cordylus giganteus is a large, terrestrial, viviparous lizard, endemic to the Highveld grasslands of South Africa. Its distribution is limited and its conservation status is vulnerable. Autopsy and mark-recapture methods were used to study the seasonal aspects of its reproductive cycle, diet, energy reserves, growth, population dynamics, daily activity and thermoregulation. Reproduction is distinctly seasonal in both sexes. Females may reproduce biennially. Vitellogenesis commenced in autumn (March), and continued through hibernation with ovulation in spring (October). Two or three young are born in autumn. A functional placenta is implicated. Seasonal steroid hormone profiles are presented. Males exhibit a postnuptial spermatogenetic cycle. Spermatogenesis commences in spring with peak spermiogenesis in autumn and testicular regression following in late autumn. Spermatozoa are stored in the epididymis and ductus deferens for seven to eight months. A bimodal plasma testosterone profile is reported, consistent with spermiogenesis in autumn and mating behaviour in spring. C. giganteus feeds during 8 months of the year and prefer Coleoptera as prey. Fat bodies are utilized for winter maintenance and reproduction. Hatchlings grow 20-30mm during the first year and maximum growth rates occur in summer. Males and females attain sexual maturity at about 165 mm SVL in the fourth year. Seasonal affects on growth rate resulted in poor fit by either logistic-by-length or von Bertalanffy models and a seasonal oscillating model was introduced. Adult males are smaller than females; head sizes are the same but allometric slopes differed significantly. Population size and structure remained stable in the study area. Densities ranged from 9 - 11 lizards/ha. The age structure is marked by the low relative abundance of juveniles. Survivorship during the first year varied among years. Mortality was highest during summer months rather than winter months. Average annual survival of adults 'was high, but varied with sex and years (ranged from 58%-80%). A life table yielded a net reproductive rate (Ro= 1) sufficient to sustain the population, if the reproductive life of an adult female is at least 12 years. Lizards remain in their burrows during winter. In summer, activity was bimodal on sunshine days but unimodal on cool overcast days. Body temperature is regulated by behavioural means (postural and orientation changes) and by shuttling to the cool burrow microclimate. The life history strategy corresponds partially to that of K-selection. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Zoology en_ZA
dc.title Life history and physiological ecology of the lizard, Cordylus Giganteus en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Biological Sciences en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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