clutch size


Summary: The number of offspring produced at one birth by an oviparous or ovoviviparous animal.

Top Publications

  1. Ji X, Du W, Qu Y, Lin L. Nonlinear continuum of egg size-number trade-offs in a snake: is egg-size variation fitness related?. Oecologia. 2009;159:689-96 pubmed publisher
    ..coupled and whether an altered balance between them will result in changes in maternal fitness, we manipulated clutch size of the Chinese cobra (Naja atra) by using the techniques of hormonal manipulation and follicle ablation...
  2. Russell A, Langmore N, Cockburn A, Astheimer L, Kilner R. Reduced egg investment can conceal helper effects in cooperatively breeding birds. Science. 2007;317:941-4 pubmed
    ..We suggest that failure to consider maternal egg-investment strategies can lead to underestimation of the force of selection acting on helping in avian cooperative breeders. ..
  3. Vila B, Jackson F, Fortuny J, Sellés A, Galobart A. 3-D modelling of megaloolithid clutches: insights about nest construction and dinosaur behaviour. PLoS ONE. 2010;5:e10362 pubmed publisher
    ..Tectonic deformation in the study area strongly influenced egg size and shape, which could potentially lead to misinterpretation of reproductive biology if 2D and 3D maps are not corrected for bed dip that results from tectonism...
  4. Kolm N, Stein R, Mooers A, Verspoor J, Cunningham E. Can sexual selection drive female life histories? A comparative study on Galliform birds. J Evol Biol. 2007;20:627-38 pubmed
    ..Here we examine the impact of sexual selection on three key female traits (body size, egg size and clutch size) in Galliform birds...
  5. Luo L, Ding G, Ji X. Income breeding and temperature-induced plasticity in reproductive traits in lizards. J Exp Biol. 2010;213:2073-8 pubmed publisher
    ..septentrionalis, where eggs produced in single reproductive bouts are believed to be well optimized for size...
  6. Schwabl H, Palacios M, Martin T. Selection for rapid embryo development correlates with embryo exposure to maternal androgens among passerine birds. Am Nat. 2007;170:196-206 pubmed
    ..Concentrations of none of these steroids were related to clutch size; only A(4) was allometrically related to egg volume...
  7. Steiger S, Richter K, Müller J, Eggert A. Maternal nutritional condition and genetic differentiation affect brood size and offspring body size in Nicrophorus. Zoology (Jena). 2007;110:360-8 pubmed
    ..defodiens. Even under identical breeding conditions with identical numbers of first-instar larvae, females descended from the two populations produced broods of different size with corresponding differences in offspring body size. ..
  8. Gonzalez Voyer A, Székely T, Drummond H. Why do some siblings attack each other? Comparative analysis of aggression in avian broods. Evolution. 2007;61:1946-55 pubmed
    ..Our study suggests that indirect feeding, long nestling periods, and small broods, possibly in combination with other factors, have tended to favor the evolution of aggressive broodmate competition. ..
  9. Taborsky B. Mothers determine offspring size in response to own juvenile growth conditions. Biol Lett. 2006;2:225-8 pubmed
    ..Therefore, the habitat mothers experienced as juveniles will allow them to predict their offspring's environment better than the conditions in the adult home range. ..

More Information


  1. Gilbert J, Manica A. Parental care trade-offs and life-history relationships in insects. Am Nat. 2010;176:212-26 pubmed publisher
    ..These patterns lay the groundwork for a more general understanding of parental care and life history. ..
  2. Eggers S, Griesser M, Nystrand M, Ekman J. Predation risk induces changes in nest-site selection and clutch size in the Siberian jay. Proc Biol Sci. 2006;273:701-6 pubmed
    Life-history theory predicts that an individual should reduce its reproductive efforts by laying a smaller clutch size when high risk of nest predation reduces the value of current reproduction...
  3. Brown G, Shine R. Beyond size-number trade-offs: clutch size as a maternal effect. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009;364:1097-106 pubmed publisher
    Traditionally, research on life-history traits has viewed the link between clutch size and offspring size as a straightforward linear trade-off; the product of these two components is taken as a measure of maternal reproductive output...
  4. Janzen F, Warner D. Parent-offspring conflict and selection on egg size in turtles. J Evol Biol. 2009;22:2222-30 pubmed publisher
    ..Because egg size is constrained by clutch size, the optimal egg size for offspring fitness may not always be equivalent to that which maximizes parental ..
  5. McNamara J, Barta Z, Wikelski M, Houston A. A theoretical investigation of the effect of latitude on avian life histories. Am Nat. 2008;172:331-45 pubmed publisher
    ..We develop a model in which birds choose when and how often to breed and their clutch size, depending on their foraging ability and the food availability. The food supply is density dependent...
  6. Tomás G, Barba E, Merino S, Martinez J. Clutch size and egg volume in great tits (Parus major) increase under low intensity electromagnetic fields: a long-term field study. Environ Res. 2012;118:40-6 pubmed publisher
    ..EMF exposure significantly increased clutch size (7%) and egg volume (3%), implying a 10% increase in clutch volume...
  7. Monteith K, Andrews C, Smiseth P. Post-hatching parental care masks the effects of egg size on offspring fitness: a removal experiment on burying beetles. J Evol Biol. 2012;25:1815-22 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings suggest that the trade-off between number and size of offspring is shifted from the egg stage towards the end of the parental care period and that post-hatching parental care somehow moderates this trade-off...
  8. Olsen B, Felch J, Greenberg R, Walters J. Causes of reduced clutch size in a tidal marsh endemic. Oecologia. 2008;158:421-35 pubmed publisher
    We tested three hypotheses of clutch size variation in two subspecies of the swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana georgiana and M. g. nigrescens)...
  9. Shuker D, Pen I, Duncan A, Reece S, West S. Sex ratios under asymmetrical local mate competition: theory and a test with parasitoid wasps. Am Nat. 2005;166:301-16 pubmed
  10. Varricchio D, Moore J, Erickson G, Norell M, Jackson F, Borkowski J. Avian paternal care had dinosaur origin. Science. 2008;322:1826-8 pubmed publisher
    ..In extant birds and over most adult sizes, paternal and biparental care correspond to the largest and smallest relative clutch volumes, respectively. ..
  11. Aviles J, Soler J. Nestling colouration is adjusted to parent visual performance in altricial birds. J Evol Biol. 2009;22:376-86 pubmed publisher
    ..Thus, our results agree with an adaptive parent-offspring communication scenario where the nestlings' colours tuned the perception capacities of their parents. ..
  12. Lee K, Wikelski M, Robinson W, Robinson T, Klasing K. Constitutive immune defences correlate with life-history variables in tropical birds. J Anim Ecol. 2008;77:356-63 pubmed publisher
    ..Complement activity was positively, although weakly, correlated with clutch size, providing some support for the hypothesis that faster-living species rely more on innate defences, such as ..
  13. Kamel S, Mrosovsky N. Inter-seasonal maintenance of individual nest site preferences in hawksbill sea turtles. Ecology. 2006;87:2947-52 pubmed
    ..g., beach width and foliage cover) or by changes in females' reproductive output (e.g., clutch size), suggesting that fidelity to particular microhabitats is a major determinant of the observed nesting patterns...
  14. Sockman K, Sharp P, Schwabl H. Orchestration of avian reproductive effort: an integration of the ultimate and proximate bases for flexibility in clutch size, incubation behaviour, and yolk androgen deposition. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2006;81:629-66 pubmed
    ..First, the seasonal decline in clutch size of most bird species may partially offset a predictable seasonal decline in the reproductive value of offspring...
  15. Travers M, Clinchy M, Zanette L, Boonstra R, Williams T. Indirect predator effects on clutch size and the cost of egg production. Ecol Lett. 2010;13:980-8 pubmed publisher
    ..g. oxidative stress and glucocorticoid mobilization) consistent with both a response to the threat of predation and an increased cost of egg production. ..
  16. Ji X, Diong C. Does follicle excision always result in enlargement of offspring size in lizards?. J Comp Physiol B. 2006;176:521-5 pubmed
    ..Follicle excision reduced clutch size, but did not alter egg size. This result indicates that egg size is not altered during vitellogenesis in T...
  17. Hendriks A, Mulder C. Scaling of offspring number and mass to plant and animal size: model and meta-analysis. Oecologia. 2008;155:705-16 pubmed publisher
  18. Criscuolo F, Bertile F, Durant J, Raclot T, Gabrielsen G, Massemin S, et al. Body mass and clutch size may modulate prolactin and corticosterone levels in eiders. Physiol Biochem Zool. 2006;79:514-21 pubmed
    ..The adrenocortical response was not modified by body mass loss but was higher in birds for which clutch size was increased. In the same way, females did not show different prolactin levels among the experimental groups...
  19. Ost M, Wickman M, Matulionis E, Steele B. Habitat-specific clutch size and cost of incubation in eiders reconsidered. Oecologia. 2008;158:205-16 pubmed publisher
    The energetic incubation constraint hypothesis (EICH) for clutch size states that birds breeding in poor habitat may free up resources for future reproduction by laying a smaller clutch...
  20. Descamps S, Gilchrist H, Bêty J, Buttler E, Forbes M. Costs of reproduction in a long-lived bird: large clutch size is associated with low survival in the presence of a highly virulent disease. Biol Lett. 2009;5:278-81 pubmed publisher
    ..We tested the predictions that larger reproductive effort (clutch size) is associated with lower survival or breeding probability the following year, and that this relationship was ..
  21. Yang Z, Xiang F, Minter E, Lu K, Chen Y, Montagnes D. The interactive effects of microcystin and nitrite on life-history parameters of the cladoceran Daphnia obtusa. J Hazard Mater. 2011;190:113-8 pubmed publisher
    ..We support the literature, recognising nitrite is toxic, and although Microcystis is toxic to zooplankton, the main threat is not from dissolved microcystin but from degradative products such as nitrite. ..
  22. Love O, Chin E, Wynne Edwards K, Williams T. Stress hormones: a link between maternal condition and sex-biased reproductive investment. Am Nat. 2005;166:751-66 pubmed
    ..Together with recent studies in other vertebrate taxa, these results suggest that maternal stress hormones provide a mechanistic link between maternal quality and sex-biased maternal investment in offspring. ..
  23. Jetz W, Sekercioglu C, Böhning Gaese K. The worldwide variation in avian clutch size across species and space. PLoS Biol. 2008;6:2650-7 pubmed publisher
    Traits such as clutch size vary markedly across species and environmental gradients but have usually been investigated from either a comparative or a geographic perspective, respectively...
  24. Avise J, Tatarenkov A, Liu J. Multiple mating and clutch size in invertebrate brooders versus pregnant vertebrates. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108:11512-7 pubmed publisher
    ..incidences of multiple mating than pregnant vertebrates, a finding generally consistent with the postulate that clutch size constrains successful mate numbers in species with extended parental care...
  25. Forsman J, Seppänen J, Nykänen I. Observed heterospecific clutch size can affect offspring investment decisions. Biol Lett. 2012;8:341-3 pubmed publisher
    ..similar to resident tit nests with completed clutches, that a migratory bird can use the observed high and low clutch size of a resident competing bird species to increase and decrease clutch size and egg mass, accordingly...
  26. Griebeler E, Caprano T, Böhning Gaese K. Evolution of avian clutch size along latitudinal gradients: do seasonality, nest predation or breeding season length matter?. J Evol Biol. 2010;23:888-901 pubmed publisher
    Birds display a latitudinal gradient in clutch size with smaller clutches in the tropics and larger in the temperate region...
  27. Olsson M, Wilson M, Uller T, Mott B, Isaksson C. Variation in levels of reactive oxygen species is explained by maternal identity, sex and body-size-corrected clutch size in a lizard. Naturwissenschaften. 2009;96:25-9 pubmed publisher
    ..In offspring, there were depressive effects on ROS of size-controlled relative clutch size, which relies directly on circulating levels of vitellogenin, a confirmed antioxidant in some species...
  28. Addison B, Benowitz Fredericks Z, Hipfner J, Kitaysky A. Are yolk androgens adjusted to environmental conditions? A test in two seabirds that lay single-egg clutches. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2008;158:5-9 pubmed publisher
    ..The high interindividual variation and the lack of interannual variation suggest a non-adaptive explanation for yolk androgen deposition relative to environmental conditions in these species. ..
  29. Santure A, De Cauwer I, Robinson M, Poissant J, Sheldon B, Slate J. Genomic dissection of variation in clutch size and egg mass in a wild great tit (Parus major) population. Mol Ecol. 2013;22:3949-62 pubmed publisher
    b>Clutch size and egg mass are life history traits that have been extensively studied in wild bird populations, as life history theory predicts a negative trade-off between them, either at the phenotypic or at the genetic level...
  30. Du W, Ji X, Shine R. Does body volume constrain reproductive output in lizards?. Biol Lett. 2005;1:98-100 pubmed
    ..and among populations, simpler questions--such as the proximate mechanisms by which a female determines her clutch size--have attracted less attention...
  31. Abe J, Kamimura Y. Do female parasitoid wasps recognize and adjust sex ratios to build cooperative relationships?. J Evol Biol. 2012;25:1427-37 pubmed publisher
    ..Here, we discuss the conditions necessary for the evolution of reciprocity linked to recognition ability. ..
  32. Rossmanith E, Grimm V, Blaum N, Jeltsch F. Behavioural flexibility in the mating system buffers population extinction: lessons from the lesser spotted woodpecker Picoides minor. J Anim Ecol. 2006;75:540-8 pubmed
    ..Consequently, we suggest that even behaviour that seems to be exceptional should be considered explicitly when predicting the persistence of populations. ..
  33. Gusso Choueri P, Choueri R, Lombardi A, Melão M. Effects of dietary copper on life-history traits of a tropical freshwater cladoceran. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2012;62:589-98 pubmed publisher
  34. Lendvai A, Loiseau C, Sorci G, Chastel O. Early developmental conditions affect stress response in juvenile but not in adult house sparrows (Passer domesticus). Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2009;160:30-5 pubmed publisher
    ..These results suggest that stress response may reflect the actual state of an individual, rather than its developmental history. ..
  35. Hamilton A, Eckstut M, Klein E, Austin C. Clutch size in the tropical scincid lizard Emoia sanfordi, a species endemic to the Vanuatu Archipelago. Zoolog Sci. 2008;25:843-8 pubmed publisher
    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...
  36. Weiser H, Starostová Z, Kubicka L, Kratochvíl L. Overlap of female reproductive cycles explains shortened interclutch interval in a lizard with invariant clutch size (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Paroedura picta). Physiol Biochem Zool. 2012;85:491-8 pubmed publisher
    Variable clutch size is unambiguously an ancestral state in reptiles. Only several lizard lineages have evolved so-called invariant clutch size, where all females lay just one or two eggs per clutch...
  37. Soutullo A, Limiñana R, Urios V, Surroca M, A Gill J. Density-dependent regulation of population size in colonial breeders: Allee and buffer effects in the migratory Montagu's harrier. Oecologia. 2006;149:543-52 pubmed
    ..We suggest that both Allee and buffer effects are operating in this system, with the benefits of conspecific presence counteracting density-dependent declines in resource availability or quality. ..
  38. Vedder O. Individual birds advance offspring hatching in response to increased temperature after the start of laying. Oecologia. 2012;170:619-28 pubmed publisher temperature after the onset of laying, and whether individuals adjust incubation onset independent of clutch size. Here, I show in free-living blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) that experimental heating of nestboxes in the ..
  39. Loot G, Poulet N, Brosse S, Tudesque L, Thomas F, Blanchet S. Determinants of life-history traits in a fish ectoparasite: a hierarchical analysis. Parasitology. 2011;138:848-57 pubmed publisher
    ..Our study illustrates the importance of considering parasite life-history traits in a hierarchical framework to decipher complex links between biotic, abiotic factors and parasite life-history traits. ..
  40. Fiene J, Kalns L, Nansen C, Bernal J, Harris M, Sword G. Foraging on individual leaves by an intracellular feeding insect is not associated with leaf biomechanical properties or leaf orientation. PLoS ONE. 2013;8:e80911 pubmed publisher
    ..Thus, while avoiding the upper leaf surface was an adaptive foraging strategy, the proximate cause remains to be elucidated, but is likely due, in part, to certain leaf properties that inhibit feeding. ..
  41. Harrison M, Broom M. A game-theoretic model of interspecific brood parasitism with sequential decisions. J Theor Biol. 2009;256:504-17 pubmed publisher
    ..Our model predictions generally match the real results well, and the model also makes predictions of the effect of changes in various key parameters on the type of parasitic interactions that should occur. ..
  42. Versteegh M, Schwabl I, Jaquier S, Tieleman B. Do immunological, endocrine and metabolic traits fall on a single Pace-of-Life axis? Covariation and constraints among physiological systems. J Evol Biol. 2012;25:1864-76 pubmed publisher
    ..The different patterns of covariation among individuals and among subspecies demonstrate that links among physiological traits are loose and suggest that these traits can evolve independent of each other. ..
  43. Rivera Gutierrez H, Martens T, Pinxten R, Eens M. Learning speed is affected by personality and reproductive investment in a songbird. PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0185410 pubmed publisher a proxy of learning speed), by investigating the role of personality, age and reproductive investment (clutch size). Pre-breeding males were tested for exploration (a proxy of personality) in standardized conditions...
  44. Warner D, Chapman M. Does solitary incubation enhance egg water uptake and offspring quality in a lizard that produces single-egg clutches?. J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet Physiol. 2011;315:149-55 pubmed publisher
    ..These results highlight the importance of considering the role of plastic embryonic responses during development in explaining reproductive patterns. ..
  45. Galipaud M, Dechaume Moncharmont F, Oughadou A, Bollache L. Does foreplay matter? Gammarus pulex females may benefit from long-lasting precopulatory mate guarding. Biol Lett. 2011;7:333-5 pubmed publisher
    ..These results highlight a potential benefit associated with PCMG for G. pulex females, suggesting that the strength of an intersexual conflict over its duration may be overestimated. ..
  46. Vincenzi S, Crivelli A, Jesensek D, De Leo G. The role of density-dependent individual growth in the persistence of freshwater salmonid populations. Oecologia. 2008;156:523-34 pubmed publisher
    ..Our results suggest that density-dependent individual growth plays a potentially powerful role in the persistence of freshwater salmonids living in streams subject to recurrent yet unpredictable flood events. ..
  47. Banga Mboko H, Lelou B, Maes D, Leroy P. Indigenous Muscovy ducks in Congo Brazzaville. 2. Preliminary observations on indigenous Muscovy ducks reared under moderate inputs in Congolese conditions. Trop Anim Health Prod. 2007;39:123-9 pubmed
    ..Further studies including local poultry-related issues are needed to optimize the performance of the native Muscovy duck in Congo-Brazzaville. ..
  48. Huang W. Ecology and reproductive patterns of the agamid lizard Japalura swinhonis on an east Asian island, with comments on the small clutch sizes of island lizards. Zoolog Sci. 2007;24:181-8 pubmed
    ..Females produced two to five eggs per clutch, and clutch size was not correlated with SVL. Two clutches were recorded during a single year in some individuals...
  49. Andersson M, Waldeck P. Reproductive tactics under severe egg predation: an eider's dilemma. Oecologia. 2006;148:350-5 pubmed
    ..Early nest attendance by eider females is estimated to increase clutch survival by about 20% in four-egg and 35% in five-egg clutches, albeit probably at a cost of smaller clutch size.
  50. Kolm N, Goodwin N, Balshine S, Reynolds J. Life history evolution in cichlids 2: directional evolution of the trade-off between egg number and egg size. J Evol Biol. 2006;19:76-84 pubmed
    ..However, the evolutionary transitions in egg size and clutch size that have produced this negative relationship are still largely unknown...
  51. Han D, Haunerland N, Williams T. Variation in yolk precursor receptor mRNA expression is a key determinant of reproductive phenotype in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). J Exp Biol. 2009;212:1277-83 pubmed publisher
    ..Variation in ovary mRNA expression was correlated with inter-individual variation in clutch size and laying interval...
  52. Rollinson N, Edge C, Brooks R. Recurrent violations of invariant rules for offspring size: evidence from turtles and the implications for small clutch size models. Oecologia. 2013;172:973-82 pubmed publisher
    ..However, this model breaks down when clutch size is small (~1-10 offspring)...
  53. de Vries T, Lakes Harlan R. Prenatal cannibalism in an insect. Naturwissenschaften. 2007;94:477-82 pubmed
    ..Thus, our data indicate a first case of prenatal cannibalism in an invertebrate with larvae feeding on each other within the uterus of the adult. ..