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Induction of parturition in snow skinks: can low temperatures inhibit the actions of AVT?

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Girling, JE and Jones, SM and Swain, R (2002) Induction of parturition in snow skinks: can low temperatures inhibit the actions of AVT? Journal of Experimental Zoology, 293 (5). pp. 525-531. ISSN 1548-8969

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Abstract

The influence of environmental factors on the timing of parturition has not been investigated in viviparous squamates. We investigated the interaction between temperature and parturition in two viviparous skink species, the southern snow skink (Niveoscincus microlepidotus) and the metallic skink (N. metallicus). In these species, the timing of parturition is separated from the completion of embryonic development; the delay is attributed to their cool and variable habitats. We examined whether the neurohypophyseal hormone arginine vasotocin (AVT) stimulated parturition in southern snow skinks with late stage embryos in autumn (E6–7 months prior to parturition) and in metallic skinks with late stage embryos in summer (E2–3 weeks prior to parturition). The experiments were conducted at a range of environmentally relevant temperatures (61C, 151C, 221C, and 281C). AVT induced parturition in both species at all temperatures; time until birth, however, occurred more quickly at warmer temperatures (221C and 281C), whereas cooler temperatures delayed parturition. We hypothesize that if cool temperatures are preventing parturition, then temperature must act at some level within the brain to prevent or slow the secretion of AVT. Future experiments will need to determine how temperature influences AVT production. Further research is also required to determine how the timing of parturition is influenced by interactions between temperature, photoperiod, and seasonal hormone patterns.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Experimental Zoology
Page Range: pp. 525-531
ISSN: 1548-8969
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1002/jez.90007
Additional Information: The definitive published version is available online at: http://interscience.wiley.com
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2008 02:29
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:46
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/7113
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