Evolutionary Origins of Viviparity in the Reptilia. I. Sauria

In: Amphibia-Reptilia
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  • 1 Department of Anatomy, N. Y. S. C. V. M., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

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Reproductive mode data were extracted piecemeal from the literature and superimposed over currently accepted phylogenies to permit estimation of the minimum frequencies with which viviparity (live-bearing) has evolved in lizards, aswell as to facilitateanalysisoffactors hypothesizedto inlluencethis evolution. Viviparity has arisen on at least 45 separate occasions in the Sauria. Each ofthese origins is pinpointed phylogeneticallyas far as is now possible. Ofthese origins, 22 have occurred in the Scincidae, ten in the Iguanidae, five in the Anguidae, two each in the Lacertidae and Gekkonidae, and one each in the Chamaeleontidae, Xantusiidae, Agamidae, and Cordylidae. Further origins may be detected in the Scincidae, Iguanidae, and Diploglossa as phylogenetic relationships are elucidated. Over 19 % of the saurian species are live-bearing, and about 2/3 of the viviparous species are skinks. Most of the sub-generic saurian origins ofviviparity have occurred in cold climates, possibly as an adaptation to facilitate maternal thermoregulation of the developing embryos. Phylogenetic distributions of these origins are consistent with hypotheses that genetic sex-determination of the male-heterogametic type as weil as a tendency towards egg'retention preadapt a lineage for viviparity. Evolution of the live-bearing mode may be constrained by temperature-dependent sex determination, female heterogamety, and formation of highly calcified eggshells.

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