Climatic correlates of live-bearing in squamate reptiles

R. Shine*, J. F. Berry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


We use a stepwise multiple regression procedure to correlate geographic patterns in the distribution of live-bearing reptilian species with patterns in climatic variables, in both Australia and North America. Previous authors have interpreted reptilian live-bearing as an evolutionary adaptation to cold climates. Our results indicate that environmental temperature and irradiance measures are no more highly correlated with the percent live-bearing species than are measures of precipitation, evaporation and humidity. We conclude that, except in very cold environments in North America, environmental temperatures seem to play little role in the relative success of live-bearing versus egg-laying reptilian reproductive strategies. It appears from previous work that reptilian live-bearing evolves mainly, or exclusively, because of the advantage it confers in enabling successful reproduction in cold climates. The present study suggests that the subsequent radiation of live-bearing reptilian species may be due to entirely different selective forces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1978
Externally publishedYes


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