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Life Cycle of the Whiptail Lizard
Transcript of Life Cycle of the Whiptail Lizard
Lay between 3 and 5 eggs.
Eggs take about four weeks to develope
The eggs will take between four and six
weeks to hatch.
Once they hatch, the lizards are completely
on their own.
Mate during spring; lay eggs in early summer; hatch in late summer Whiptail lizards reproduce by something called
Parthenogenesis. Parthenogenesis is a form of
asexual reproduction where growth and
developement in the female can occur without
male fertilization. Parthenogenetic offspring
usually have the diploid chromosome number.
Parthenogenesis has been studied a lot in the New Mexico, whiptail of which 15 species reproduce exclusively by parthenogenesis. These lizards live in the dry and sometimes harsh climate of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. All these asexual species appear to have arisen through the hybridization of two or three of the sexual species in the genus leading to polyploid individuals. The mechanism by which the mixing of chromosomes from two or three species can lead to parthenogenetic reproduction is unknown. Because multiple hybridization events can occur, individual parthenogenetic whiptail species can consist of multiple independent asexual lineages. Within lineages, there is very little genetic diversity, but different lineages may have quite different genotypes. An interesting part to reproduction in these asexual lizards is that mating behaviors are still seen, although the populations are all female. One female plays the role played by the male in closely related species, and mounts the female that is about to lay eggs. This behaviour is due to the hormonal cycles of the females, which cause them to behave like males shortly after laying eggs, when levels of progesterone are high, and to take the female role in mating before laying eggs, when estrogen dominates. So, although the populations lack males, they still require sexual behavioral for maximum reproductive success