Energy consumption during development has been measured in many oviparous lizards, but not in viviparous lizards in utero. It has always been assumed that energy consumption by embryos of viviparous lizards during development is similar to that of oviparous species. Estimation of energy consumption of viviparous lizards in vivo are confounded by the possible influence of pregnancy on maternal metabolism. Here we separated maternal and embryonic metabolism in measurements of pregnant Eulamprus tympanum throughout pregnancy. Our data support the hypothesis that the energetic cost of development in viviparous lizards (19.8 kJ g(-1)) is similar to that in oviparous lizards (mean 16.2 kJ g(-1)), at least for a species with a simple placenta. An increase in maternal metabolism of 29% above that for non-pregnant E. tympanum goes to maintain pregnancy, and represents an important component of the reproductive effort in E. tympanum.