Reproductive biology

Girdled lizards are viviparous, giving birth to a few (one to six) large babies each year. Some live in diffuse colonies,

A Cape flat lizard (Platysaurus capensis) breeding male in stunning color and showing flattened habitus, Richtersveld National Park, South Africa. (Photo by Bill Branch. Reproduced by permission.)

in which the males are territorial during the breeding season. Although they usually have drab coloration, adult males do have active femoral and glandular pores and appear to use chemical clues to signal status and territorial boundaries. Sexual maturity is reached in two to four years and they are long-lived (up to 25 years is known in captivity). In courtship male flat lizards present to females, raising their head and forebody to reveal the bright colors of the throat and chest. Unlike other cordylines, they are oviparous and lay only two eggs, usually in November to December. The relatively large, elongate eggs are 0.3-0.4 in (7-10 mm) wide, 0.7-0.9 in (17-22 mm) long, soft-shelled, and laid in deep cracks, usually in damp leaf mold. Numerous females may nest in the same crack. Grass lizards are also viviparous. Surprisingly for such thin, active lizards, they have relatively large litters (up to 12 young, each 6 in [15 cm] long). Birth may take two to three days, and the young often escape by wriggling from their mother's body.

All gerrhosaurines are oviparous, and lay a few soft-shelled eggs in moist sites. Little is known of the reproduction of seps or plated snake lizards. One species lays a small clutch of two to five eggs in midsummer in a live Anochetus faurei ant nest. Several females may use the same site. The eggs develop safely in the warm, protected ant nest and hatch between February and April; hatchlings measure 4.5-5.5 in (114-140 mm).

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