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Maternal basking behaviour determines offspring sex in a viviparous reptile


Wapstra, E and Olsson, M and Shine, R and Edwards, A and Swain, R and Joss, JMP, Maternal basking behaviour determines offspring sex in a viviparous reptile, Royal Society of London. Proceedings. Series B - Biological Sciences, 271, (Supplement 4) pp. S230-S232 . ISSN 0962-8452 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsbl.2003.0152


Two primary dichotomies within vertebrate life histories involve reproductive mode (oviparity versus viviparity) and sex determination (genotypic sex determination versus environmental sex determination). Although reptiles show multiple evolutionary transitions in both parameters, the co-occurrence of viviparity and environmental-dependent sex determination have heretofore been regarded as incompatible. Our studies on the viviparous lizard Niveoscincus ocellatus show that the extent of basking by a female influences the sex of her offspring. Critically, our data reveal this effect both in the field (via correlations between date of birth and litter sex ratio) and in a laboratory experiment (females with reduced basking opportunities produced more male offspring). Changes in thermoregulatory behaviour thus allow pregnant female lizards to modify the sex of their offspring.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Population ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Associate Professor Erik Wapstra)
UTAS Author:Edwards, A (Dr Ashley Edwards)
UTAS Author:Swain, R (Dr Roy Swain)
ID Code:31834
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:62
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2011-11-25

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