Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Fine-scale spatial structuring as an inbreeding avoidance mechanism in the social skink Egernia stokesii

M. G. Gardner A C D , S. S. Godfrey A B , A. L. Fenner A , S. C. Donnellan C and C. M. Bull A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.

B Present address: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

C South Australian Museum, Adelaide, and Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: michael.gardner@flinders.edu.au

Australian Journal of Zoology 60(4) 272-277 https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO12089
Submitted: 4 September 2012  Accepted: 27 November 2012   Published: 19 December 2012

Abstract

Egernia stokesii is a monogamous and group-living species of Australian scincid lizard. We used genotype data from 10 microsatellite loci to examine evidence for sex-biased dispersal and kin-based discrimination as mechanisms for inbreeding avoidance of E. stokesii within seven rocky outcrops in the southern Flinders Ranges of South Australia. We also examined the relatedness of individuals observed using the same crevice within groups. We found no evidence for sex-biased dispersal at these sites, but found that adult lizards of the opposite sex observed using the same crevice were less related to each other than expected by chance. Our results suggest a behavioural mechanism for minimising inbreeding in large related aggregations of this species.

Additional keywords: aggregations, dispersal, family living, group living, lizards.


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