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Maternal basking behaviour determines offspring sex in a viviparous reptile

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Wapstra, E and Olsson, M and Shine, R and Edwards, A and Swain, R and Joss, JMP (2004) Maternal basking behaviour determines offspring sex in a viviparous reptile. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B (Suppl.), 271. s230. ISSN 0962-8452

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Abstract

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 Type: Article
Keywords: environmental sex determination; sex ratio; squamate; viviparity
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B (Suppl.)
Page Range: s230
ISSN: 0962-8452
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0152
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2007 01:04
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:23
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/2200
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