The correlated evolution of foraging mode and reproductive effort in lizards

Dylan J.Padilla Perez, Dale F. DeNardo, Michael J. Angilletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Life-history theory suggests that the optimal reproductive effort of an organism is affected by factors such as energy acquisition and predation risk. The observation that some organisms actively search for their prey and others ambush them creates the expectation of different energy needs and predation risk associated with each foraging behaviour, the so-called 'foragingmode paradigm'. Although this paradigm has been around for decades, the empirical evidence consists of conflicting results derived from competing models based on different mechanisms. For instance, models within the foraging-mode paradigm suggest that widely foraging females have evolved low reproductive effort, because a heavy reproductive load decreases their ability to escape from predators. By contrast, a long-standing prediction of evolutionary theory indicates that organisms subject to high extrinsic mortality, should invest more in reproduction. Here, we present the first partial evidence that widely foraging species have evolved greater reproductive effort than have sit-and-wait species, which we attribute to a larger body size and greater mortality among mobile foragers. According to our findings, we propose a theoretical model that could explain the observed pattern in lizards, suggesting ways for evolutionary ecologists to test mechanistic hypotheses at the intraspecific level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20220180
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1976
StatePublished - 2022


  • Clutch size
  • fecundity
  • maternal size
  • offspring size
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • predation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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