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Abstract

The present study examined the influence of social experience on egg development in the parthenogenic gecko, Lepidodactylus lugubris. 16 individuals were first housed in communal enclosures. After initial egg development half (N = 8) were removed and placed in isolated conditions. Once isolated individuals laid or miscarried/absorbed their eggs, half of them (N = 4) remained in isolation and the rest were returned to communal cages. Data of inter-individual distances and behavior were obtained systematically during the study. Dominant animals developed eggs more frequently than subordinate animals, and animals returned to communal cages after isolation developed eggs faster than those that remained in isolation. Pseudocopulations were not observed. The social environment of L. lugubris may be related to egg development in two ways: (1) Greater productivity by dominant individuals may increase not only their personal fitness but also the inclusive fitness of the subordinate individuals; and (2) The presence of other geckos may indicate an environment with the resources necessary to support reproduction and thus facilitate egg development.