Abundant evidence suggests that females may engage in mate choice to gain nongenetic (material) benefits from high-quality territories; however, the selective consequences that influence those choices are not well understood. We studied the fitness effects of territory quality and incubation temperature on juvenile lizards in nature. We manipulated territory quality by redistributing rocks between pairs of neighboring home ranges. Rock manipulations set up adjacent plots that were either experimentally improved or reduced in quality. We incubated eggs from field-caught gravid females in each of three temperature treatments in the laboratory (low, medium, and high temperature). Progeny were released in either experimentally improved or reduced-quality plots upon hatching, and the following spring we measured survival as a function of egg size and laying date. We conducted concurrent studies of the thermal environment on experimental territories. Improved territories provided significantly more hours for lizards to behaviorally thermoregulate at their preferred body temperature and also provided nest sites with incubation conditions that were closer to optimal compared with reduced-quality plots. Reduced-quality plots were significantly more variable in quality. Finally, we measured significant correlational selection between egg mass and laying date on manipulated plots in two separate years. Results indicate the influence of environmental variation on correlational selection on life-history traits.
Vol. 61 • No. 5
Vol. 61 • No. 5