Faculty Publications

Title

Hitting the Ground Running: Environmentally Cued Hatching in a Lizard

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

J. Sean Doody

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Date Issued

March 2013

Date Available

March 2013

ISSN

0045-8511

Abstract

Evidence is accumulating for the ability of animal embryos to hatch early in response to the immediate threat of egg predation. However, early hatching in response to predation is known from only amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. Herein we present the first quantitative evidence for induced early hatching in a reptile. In two laboratory experiments, delicate skink (Lampropholis delicata) embryos responded to a surrogate predator cue-vibrations-by hatching similar to 3 days earlier than their spontaneously hatching clutchmates. Early hatching embryos were significantly smaller and left more residual yolk in their eggs, however, suggesting a cost to hatching early. Assuming our vibrations were interpreted as an increase in predation risk, skink embryos can thus forego some yolk absorption and growth when threatened by imminent predation. Simulated predation experiments in the field induced hatching in both nest sites ( horizontal rock crevices) and in eggs displaced from nest sites. The hatching process was explosive: early hatching embryos hatched in seconds and sprinted from the egg an average of similar to 40 cm as they hatched. Our results are unusual in demonstrating early hatching in a terrestrial animal with a simple life cycle, and likely extend predation-induced early hatching to reptiles. Early hatching may be widespread in oviparous vertebrates.

Comments

Citation only. Full-text article is available through licensed access provided by the publisher. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.

Language

en_US

Publisher

AMER SOC ICHTHYOLOGISTS & HERPETOLOGISTS

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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