Do Shingle-Back Lizards Mate For Life?

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Have you ever heard of the shingle-back lizard? Also known as the knob-tailed gecko, this unique species is native to Australia and has a distinct feature that sets it apart from other lizards: a set of spines on its back that looks like shingles. But what’s most fascinating about the shingle-back lizard is its mating behavior. Do these lizards mate for life, as the legend suggests? Let’s take a closer look.


Do shingle-back lizards mate for life?


It’s well-known amongst lizard fanatics that shingle-back lizards, or ‘stumpy-tail lizards’ as they’re often affectionately known, can live up to 30 years and form deep social bonds with their preferred partners.


But do these friendly and endearing reptiles mate for life?


Recent research suggests that’s quite possible. Shingle-back lizards are incredibly particular about finding their perfect mate. During mating season, one will often rebuff the advances of other suitors in favor of staying with their chosen partner.

This suggests that shingle-backs form lasting pair bonds and remain devoted to them for many years – making this unique reptile one of nature’s great success stories regarding long-term relationships.


The Myth of Mating for Life


The myth of shingle-backed lizards mating for life has existed since the 19th century when naturalist John Gould reported that they were “monogamous in their habits.”

This idea persists today, but no scientific evidence supports it. In fact, studies have shown that male knob-tailed geckos actively search out multiple mates throughout their lifetimes.

However, from an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense that shingle-back lizards would be monogamous—at least for part of their lives.

A single female can lay up to six eggs in one clutch, so if each egg had a different father, the offspring would have more genetic diversity. This works out well for evolutionary purposes because it increases the chances of their survival against predators and diseases.

So while shingle-backs may not mate exclusively with just one partner for life, they do tend to form long-term relationships with them.

Male geckos have also been observed guarding their partner’s clutches of eggs until they hatch—a behavior usually only seen among monogamous species.

As such, it appears that these lizards can form strong bonds with each other—though again, there is no scientific proof that they’re truly monogamous creatures by nature.




In summary, while there is currently no scientific evidence to back up the claim that shingle-backed lizards mate exclusively with just one partner throughout their lifetime, they can certainly form strong bonds with each other. They do guard each other’s eggs together until they hatch–behaviors that are generally exclusive to monogamous species. All in all, understanding how these unique creatures interact and mate provides us with an interesting insight into the complexities of relationships in nature

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