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J Exp Biol. 2002 Sep;205(Pt 18):2777-84.

Incubation temperature modulates post-hatching thermoregulatory behavior in the Madagascar ground gecko, Paroedura pictus.

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  • 1Program in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA. mark-blumberg@uiowa.edu

Abstract

All vertebrates regulate body temperature within narrow limits, regardless of their physiological capabilities. When do these limits develop, and can they be modified by manipulations of the developmental thermal environment? We addressed these questions by incubating the eggs of the Madagascar ground gecko, Paroedura pictus, at three temperatures and by assessing thermoregulatory behavior in hatchlings. Thermoregulatory behavior was assessed using a two-choice shuttle paradigm, and skin temperatures were measured non-invasively using infrared thermography. The shuttling behavior of hatchlings was systematically affected by the temperature at which they were incubated, and follow-up tests suggested that this effect persisted for at least three weeks post-hatching. The body temperature data from the shuttling experiment were used to model thermoregulatory behavior in a complex thermal environment; the model predicted systematic effects of incubation temperature on thermal preference. The specificity of the alteration in thermoregulatory behavior by incubation temperature is compelling and provides evidence for powerful pre-hatching influences on a fundamental, life-sustaining behavioral process.

PMID:
12177143
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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