Taxonomy plays a central role in conservation programs of threatened New Zealand taxa. The role of taxonomy is especially relevant for highly vulnerable taxa, where the identification of distinct lineages is essential to define units of conservation and to appropriately allocate conservation resources. Taxonomy traditionally relied on phenotype, but in the past 30 years, the use of genetic data has become prominent in the field. While both phenotypic and genetic approaches to taxonomy have their own merit, they do not always agree.
Understanding the factors that drive population persistence and growth is fundamental to both conservation management and evolutionary biology. Internal (maternal) and external (environmental) factors can affect female reproductive output, and in oviparous reptiles both may strongly influence offspring phenotype and quality. However, the link between these effects, their importance for reproductive output and offspring characteristics of live-bearing lizards, and whether population declines are linked to these factors in modified versus native habitats are unknown.