The availability of preferred habitat can have numerous effects on an individual's behavior and physiology and, in turn, can affect fitness. In Anolis lizards, different species have evolved specific limb lengths that enable them to perform well in habitats with specific perch characteristics. Indeed, perch width and height have been major drivers in the morphological diversification in this genus. Despite the extensive work on Anolis limb length/perch width relationships, however, the availability of perches (a preferred habitat characteristic) influences aspects of fitness is poorly known. In this study, we housed captive male/female pairs of Brown Anoles (Anolis sagrei) in cages with high and low availabilities of perches and quantified the effect of perch availability on perch use and reproductive variables (egg production, egg mass, interegg interval, yolk steroids, egg hatching success). In the low-perch availability treatment, females spent less time on perches than did females in the high-perch availability treatment. Despite this effect on perch use, however, perch availability had little to no effect on reproduction. Egg mass and yolk testosterone concentrations increased over the reproductive season, but perch availability had no effect on any temporal changes in reproductive variables over time. Despite the importance of perch characteristics in shaping the evolution of Anolis lizards, we found little evidence that perch availability affects maternal reproductive investment in A. sagrei under controlled laboratory conditions.
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Vol. 50 • No. 2