Aseasonal reproduction and high fecundity in the Cape grass lizard, Cordylus anguinus, in a fire-prone habitat
Document Type: Journal
Author(s): A. du Toit ; P. L.N. Mouton ; A. F. Flemming
Publication Year: 2003

Cataloging Information

Africa; fertility; fire injuries (humans); reproduction; reptiles; South Africa; wildfires; wildlife management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 50216
Tall Timbers Record Number: 26786
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


We investigated life history characters of the Cape grass lizard, Cordylus anguinus, and relate them to survival in the fire-prone habitat in which it occurs. Unlike in other cordylids, reproductive activity was found to be asynchronous among females, with vitellogenic and gravid females encountered virtually throughout the year. Aseasonal breeding will circumvent reduction or complete loss of reproductive effort for any given year due to fire. Female grass-lizards attain significantly larger body sizes than males. Clutch size ranged from three to seventeen and was positively correlated with snout-vent length. Maximum clutch size is more than three times that recorded for any other cordylid. We suggest that high fecundity will allow quick recruitment after a fire. To determine the reproductive cycle exhibited by males, testicular volume and seminiferous tubule diameter were measured, and spermatogenic activity assessed qualitatively, using Licht's classification system. Our data indicate that C. anguinus has a post-nuptial spermatogenic cycle. The species differs from other cordylids having a postnuptial cycle, in that spermatogenesis already commences in spring. © Koininklijke brill NV, Leiden, 2003.

Online Link(s):
du Toit, A., P. L. N. Mouton, and A. F. Flemming. 2003. Aseasonal reproduction and high fecundity in the Cape grass lizard, Cordylus anguinus, in a fire-prone habitat. Amphibia Reptilia, v. 24, no. 4, p. 471-482. 10.1163/156853803322763936.