Influence of seasonal temperature fluctuation on successful reproduction of the Gorongosa girdled lizard Smaug mossambicus
Keywords:behaviour, captive breeding, climate, conservation, reptile, seasonality
Climatic seasonality has allowed species to evolve to use such variation to their advantage. Correct timing of breeding and parturition can be an essential factor in species survival, and adaptations to geographic seasonal changes can assist in preparation for a successful breeding season. The Gorongosa girdled lizard Smaug mossambicus is a little-known cordylid lizard from Mozambique, for which there is very limited information regarding its natural history and breeding habits. Through keeping this species at Drayton Manor Resort, UK, it was apparent that seasonal climatic changes may have an impact on the successful reproduction of this species. Using data collected at Drayton Manor Resort and additional data collected from both private and professional institutions via a questionnaire, the climatic factors affecting reproduction in this reptile were investigated. The results suggest that seasonal temperature variation may have some influence on captive breeding success, although this is likely to be in conjunction with other factors such as variance in photoperiod, humidity and rainfall. There is evidence of strictly seasonal reproductive behaviour by S. mossambicus, which corresponds with many other species from southern Africa: producing a single litter annually, breeding in winter with parturition in summer. Litter size varied between one and six individuals. Future research should focus on exploring further climate variables that may influence the breeding habits of S. mossambicus. This study builds a foundation for understanding the breeding behaviour of S. mossambicus and should aid in the successful maintenance and reproduction of the species.
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