The common lizard, Zootoca vivipara (Lichtenstein, 1823), shows high variation in life histories and morphology across its range, which comprises almost the entire Palearctic region. However, this variation is not congruent with the species phylogeny. This suggests an important role of the environment in shaping the variation in morphology and life histories of this species. As most data on life histories originate from only a small number of populations and do not cover the species' geographic range and phylogenetic diversity, to fill a gap and provide more information for future comparative studies we investigated reproduction and morphology in two montane populations from Slovakia, central Europe. This region is characterized by taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity and both montane and lowland ecological forms of the common lizard occur here. The common lizards from the Slovak populations are sexually dimorphic, with females having larger body and abdomen lengths and males having larger heads and longer legs. Female common lizards start to reproduce at a relatively large size compared to most other populations. This is consistent with a relatively short activity season, which has been shown to be the main factor driving variation in body size in the common lizard. Clutch size was also relatively high and positively correlated with body size, abdomen size and head size. One third of all females attaining the size of the smallest gravid female showed no signs of reproductive activity despite mating opportunities, suggesting that not all females reproduce annually in this population.
Vol. 30 • No. 2
Vol. 30 • No. 2