Growth ecology of the tree lizard Urosaurus bicarinatus (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae), in a tropical dry forest of the Chamela Region, Mexico

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Determination of growth rate provides an important component of an organism’s life history, making estimations of size at maturity, survival rate, and longevity possible. Here, we report on growth rate of males and females of the tropical tree lizard Urosaurus bicarinatus, in a seasonal environment in the state of Jalisco on the Mexican Pacific Coast. We calculated body growth rates and fitted these to the Von Bertalanffy, the logistic-by-length, and the logistic-by-weight growth models. The Von Bertalanffy model provided the best fit, and we used it to analyze the growth pattern. Males and females did not differ in estimated asymptotic size and other characteristic growth parameters. Estimated growth curve predicted an age at maturity of 38 mm SVL on 120 days for males, and 40 mm SVL on 170 days for females. On the basis of the similarities in the growth rates between the sexes, comparisons were made between seasons, and we found that the average rate of growth was slightly, albeit insignificantly, higher in the rainy season than in the dry season. The similarities in the growth patterns for the sexes of this species might be indicative of variance in its life history traits (e.g., fecundity, egg size) compared to those of other populations of this species and other species of this genus; therefore, it is important to document interpopulation differences to understand the evolutionary changes that have led to optimal adaptation in a particular environment more accurately.

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Figures

  • Observed and predicted growth rates as a function of body length for Urosaurus bicarinatus. Closed circles represent observed growth rates of females. Closed squares represent observed growth rates of males. Black lines represent the expected relationship between body growth rates and the size of males and females according to the Von Bertalanffy model (solid line), the logistic-by-length model (discontinuous line), and the logistic-by-weight model (dotted line).

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  • Comparisons between sexes of the characteristic growth parameter (r) and asymptotic length (A1), both estimated by the Von Bertalanffy growth model. Ninety-five percent support plane confidence intervals are shown.

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  • Growth curve for both sexes of Urosaurus bicarinatus estimated through the Von Bertalanffy growth model. Age at maturity estimated for males and females are shown.

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