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Physiol Behav. 1994 Jun;55(6):1067-72.

Incubation temperature affects the behavior of adult leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius).

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Department of Zoology, University of Texas at Austin 78712.


The leopard gecko has temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD); females are predominantly produced when incubated at 26 degrees C (100%), 30 degrees C (70%), and 34 degrees C (95%), whereas males are predominantly produced at 32.5 degrees C (75%). Exogenous estradiol can override the effect of temperature on sex determination. To compare temperature-determined females with hormone-determined females, eggs from the male-biased temperature were treated with estradiol benzoate during incubation. As adults, animals from a male-biased incubation temperature were more likely to exhibit aggression than animals from female-biased incubation temperatures. Furthermore, females from a male-biased incubation temperature tended to be less attractive than females from female-biased temperatures. Hormone-determined females were both attractive and aggressive. This suggests that incubation temperature is an important development determinant of adult aggressiveness and attractiveness. The 26 degrees C animals ovariectomized on the day of hatch exhibited more frequent aggression and were unreceptive to males, indicating that postnatal ovarian hormones also play a role in adult sociosexual behaviors. The parallel between incubation temperature and intrauterine position in laboratory mammals is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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