Clutch size in the tropical scincid lizard Emoia sanfordi, a species endemic to the Vanuatu archipelago

Alison Madeline Hamilton, Louisiana State University
Mallory Elizabeth Eckstut, Southeastern Louisiana University
Elaine Renee Klein, The University of Texas at Austin
Christopher Cowell Austin, Louisiana State University


The majority of species in the scincid genus Emoia (Squamata: Scincidae) have a fixed clutch size of two eggs per clutch and produce between two and four clutches per year. One lineage within Emoia, the Emoia samoensis species group, consists of 13 species occurring in Melanesia and the islands of the southwestern Pacific Ocean, and exhibits variation in clutch size, with previously reported clutch sizes of two to five eggs. Little is known about reproduction in several members of this lineage including Emoia sanfordi, a large-bodied lizard endemic to the archipelago of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. We analyzed reproduction and clutch size in E. sanfordi females and discovered that there is a substantial amount of intraspecific variation, with clutch size ranging from two to seven eggs, with a modal clutch size of five eggs. Females were reproductively active throughout the study period of June through October and appear to be laying multiple clutches. The variation in clutch size seen in E. sanfordi is congruent with the variation previously reported within other closely related species. © 2008 Zoological Society of Japan.