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Models of small clutch sizes predict a number of invariant relationships between means and variances of measures of reproductive investment. However, empirical tests of the models have been lagging behind theoretical work. We tested the predictions using data on the mallee dragon, Ctenophorus fordi, a species where the basic assumptions of the models are likely to be fulfilled. Some, but not all, qualitative predictions of the models were shown to hold true, but the data fitted poorly to quantitative predictions. The patterns of deviation from theory may suggest the presence of a lower, and potentially an upper, limit on egg mass. We also argue that multiple and non-independent allocation decisions between total reproductive effort, growth and maintenance, and offspring size-number allocation could be important factors in the evolution of size-number strategies in lizards and thus need to be taken into account in theoretical models. The present study shows the potential to use small clutch size models to gain further insights into reproductive investment and allocation decisions in squamates. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Original publication




Journal article


Evolutionary Ecology

Publication Date





363 - 372