The influence of hydric environments during egg incubation on embryonic heart rates and offspring phenotypes in a scincid lizard (Lampropholis guichenoti)

Wei Guo Du*, Richard Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Extensive evidence shows that incubation conditions can affect phenotypic traits of hatchling reptiles, but the relative importance of thermal versus hydric factors, and the proximate mechanisms by which such factors influence hatchling phenotypes, remain unclear for most species. We incubated eggs of an Australian scincid lizard, Lampropholis guichenoti, at four different moisture contents ranging from - 500 to 0 kPa. Drier substrates reduced water uptake of eggs and resulted in smaller hatchlings, but other phenotypic traits (incubation periods, hatchling sex, body proportions, running speeds, growth rates post-hatching) were not affected by the hydric environment during incubation. Contrary to our prediction, lower water uptake during incubation (and hence, presumably, more viscous blood) did not affect embryonic heart rates. Thus, as in many other squamate species, hatchling phenotypes and embryonic developmental rates of L. guichenoti are less sensitive to hydric conditions in the nest than to thermal regimes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Volume151
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • developmental plasticity
  • egg incubation
  • embryonic metabolism
  • growth
  • hatchling
  • heart rate
  • reptile
  • water potential

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