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J Comp Physiol B. 2000 Jun;170(4):269-76.

How incubation temperature influences the physiology and growth of embryonic lizards.

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Department of Zoology and Entomology, The University of Queensland, Australia.


Eggs of two small Australian lizards, Lampropholis guichenoti and Bassiana duperreyi, were incubated to hatching at 25 degrees C and 30 degrees C. Incubation periods were significantly longer at 25 degrees C in both species, and temperature had a greater effect on the incubation period of B. duperreyi (41.0 days at 25 degrees C; 23.1 days at 30 degrees C) than L. guichenoti (40.1 days at 25 degrees C; 27.7 days at 30 degrees C). Patterns of oxygen consumption were similar in both species at both temperatures, being sigmoidal in shape with a fall in the rate of oxygen consumption just prior to hatching. The higher incubation temperature resulted in higher peak and higher prehatch rates of oxygen consumption in both species. Total amount of oxygen consumed during incubation was independent of temperature in B. duperreyi, in which approximately 50 ml oxygen was consumed at both temperatures, but eggs of L. guichenoti incubated at 30 degrees C consumed significantly more (32.6 ml) than eggs incubated at 25 degrees C (28.5 ml). Hatchling mass was unaffected by either incubation temperature or the amount of water absorbed by eggs during incubation in both species. The energetic production cost of hatchling B. duperreyi (3.52 kJ x g(-1)) was independent of incubation temperature, whereas in L. guichenoti the production cost was greater at 30 degrees C (4.00 kJ x g(-1)) than at 25 degrees C (3.47 kJ g(-1)). Snout-vent lengths and mass of hatchlings were unaffected by incubation temperature in both species, but hatchling B. duperreyi incubated at 30 degrees C had longer tails (29.3 mm) than those from eggs incubated at 25 degrees C (26.2 mm). These results indicate that incubation temperature can affect the quality of hatchling lizards in terms of embryonic energy consumption and hatchling morphology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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