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Physiol Zool. 1998 Jan-Feb;71(1):23-6.

Incubation of turtle eggs at different temperatures: do embryos compensate for temperature during development?

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Department of Zoology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


Freshwater turtle eggs are normally subjected to fluctuations in incubation temperature during natural incubation. Because of this, developing embryos may make physiological adjustments to growth and metabolism in response to incubation at different temperatures. I tested this hypothesis by incubating eggs of the Brisbane river turtle Emydura signata under four different temperature regimes, constant temperatures of 24 degrees C and 31 degrees C throughout incubation, and two swapped-temperature treatments where incubation temperature was changed approximately halfway through incubation. Incubation at 31 degrees C took 42 d, and incubation at 24 degrees C took 78 d, with intermediate incubation periods for the swapped-temperature treatments. Hatchling mass, hatchling size, and total oxygen consumed during development were similar for all incubation regimes. The pattern of oxygen consumption during the last phase of incubation as reflected by rate of increase of oxygen consumption, peak oxygen consumption, and fall in oxygen consumption before hatching was determined solely by the incubation temperature during the last phase of incubation; that is, incubation temperature during the first phase of incubation had no influence on these factors. Thus there is no evidence of temperature compensation in growth or development during embryonic development of E. signata eggs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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