Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Nest-site selection and the factors influencing hatching success and offspring phenotype in a nocturnal skink

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Amphibia-Reptilia

Nest-site selection in ectothermic animals influences hatching success and offspring phenotype, and it is predicted that females should choose nesting sites that maximise their reproductive fitness, ultimately through the reproductive success of their offspring. We completed nest-site choice experiments on a nocturnal lizard, the egg-laying skink (Oligosoma suteri), to determine whether eggs (and subsequent hatchlings) from cooler nests do better at cooler incubation temperatures, and conversely if those laid in warmer nests perform better at warmer incubation temperatures. We provided a simple nest-choice experiment, with oviposition-retreat sites available in either a hot or a cool sector of the enclosure; in the wild females nest under objects. Female O. suteri laid eggs both during the day and night, and nested more in the hot than cool sector. Eggs from each clutch were split across three egg incubation temperatures (18°C, 22°C, 26°C) to decouple the impact of initial nest-site choice from the subsequent incubation temperature regime. Whether eggs were initially laid in the hot or cool sector was not related to hatching success, offspring phenotype or offspring locomotor performance. We conclude that offspring phenotype and performance is primarily influenced by the temperature during incubation, rather than the initial thermal environment of the nest location. Thus, female O. suteri may select warmer nesting sites to ensure higher incubation temperature and enhanced offspring fitness.

Affiliations: 1: 1School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia ; 2: 2School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand ; 3: 3The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Private Bag 31914, Lower Hutt 5040, New Zealand

*Corresponding author; e-mail:
Loading data from figshare Loading data from figshare

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Booth D.T. (2006): "Influence of incubation temperature on hatchling phenotype in reptiles". Physiol. Biochem. Zool. Vol 79: 274-281. [Crossref]
2. Bull J.J., Gutzke W.H.N., Bulmer M.G. (1988): "Nest choice in a captive lizard with temperature-dependent sex determination". J. Evol. Biol. Vol 2: 177-184. [Crossref]
3. Chamberlain A.J., Cree A., Hare K.M. (2010): "Mysterious moments: unveiling birth in a viviparous lizard". New Zealand J. Zool. Vol 37: 65.
4. Chapple D.G., Hitchmough R.A. (2016): "Biogeography of New Zealand lizards. Chapter 5". In: New Zealand Lizards, p.  109-131. Chapple D.G., Ed., Springer, Switzerland. DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-41674-8_5. [Crossref]
5. Cree A., Hare K.M. (2016): "Reproduction and life history of New Zealand lizards. Chapter 7". In: New Zealand Lizards, p.  169-206. Chapple D.G., Ed., Springer, Switzerland. DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-41674-8_7. [Crossref]
6. Doody J.S. (2009): "Superficial lizards in cold climates: nest site choice along an elevational gradient". Aust. Ecol. Vol 34: 773-779. [Crossref]
7. Elphick M.J., Shine R. (1999): "Sex differences in optimal incubation temperatures in a scincid lizard species". Oecologia Vol 118: 431-437. [Crossref]
8. Hare K.M., Daugherty C.H., Cree A. (2002): "Incubation regime affects juvenile morphology and hatching success, but not sex, of the oviparous lizard Oligosoma suteri (Lacertilia: Scincidae)". New Zealand J. Zool. Vol 29: 221-229. [Crossref]
9. Hare K.M., Longson C.G., Pledger S., Daugherty C.H. (2004): "Size, growth, and survival are reduced at cool incubation temperatures in the temperate lizard Oligosoma suteri (Lacertilia: Scincidae)". Copeia Vol 2004: 383-390. [Crossref]
10. Hare K.M., Pledger S., Daugherty C.H. (2008a): "Low incubation temperatures negatively influence locomotor performance and behavior of the nocturnal lizard Oligosoma suteri (Lacertidae: Scincidae)". Copeia Vol 2008: 16-22. [Crossref]
11. Hare K.M., Daugherty C.H., Chapple D.G. (2008b): "Comparative phylogeography of three skink species (Oligosoma moco, O. smithi and O. suteri; Reptilia: Scincidae) in northeastern New Zealand". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. Vol 46: 303-315. [Crossref]
12. Iraeta P., Diaz J.A., Bauwens D. (2007): "Nest-site selection by Psammodromus algirus in a laboratory thermal gradient". J. Herpetol. Vol 41: 360-364. [Crossref]
13. Miller K.A., Hare K.M., Nelson N.J. (2010): "Do alternate escape tactics provide a means of compensation for impaired performance ability?" Biol. J. Linn. Soc. Vol 99: 241-249. [Crossref]
14. Mitchell N.J., Nelson N.J., Cree A., Pledger S., Keall S.N., Daugherty C.H. (2006): "Support for rare pattern of temperature-dependent sex determination in archaic reptiles: evidence from two species of tuatara (Sphenodon)". Front. Zool. Vol 3: 9. DOI:12.1186/1742-9994-3-9. [Crossref]
15. Mitchell T.S., Maciel J.A., Janzen F.J. (2013a): "Does sex-ratio selection influence nest-site choice in a reptile with temperature dependent sex determination?" Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B Vol 280: 20132460. [Crossref]
16. Mitchell T.S., Warner D.A., Janzen F.J. (2013b): "Phenotypic and fitness consequences of maternal nest-site choice across multiple early life stages". Ecology Vol 94: 336-345. [Crossref]
17. Pike D.A., Webb J.K., Andrews R.M. (2011): "Social and thermal cues influence nest-site selection in a nocturnal gecko, Oedura lesueurii". Ethology Vol 117: 796-801. [Crossref]
18. Pike D.A., Webb J.K., Shine R. (2010): "Nesting in a thermally challenging environment: nest-site selection in a rock-dwelling gecko, Oedura lesueurii (Reptilia: Gekkonidae)". Biol. J. Linn. Soc. Vol 99: 250-259. [Crossref]
19. R Development Core Team (2008): R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna.
20. Refsnider J.M. (2016): "Nest-site choice and nest construction in non-avian reptiles: evolutionary significance and ecological implications". Avian Biol. Res. Vol 9: 76-88. [Crossref]
21. Refsnider J.M., Janzen F.J. (2010): "Putting eggs in one basket: ecological and evolutionary hypotheses for variation in oviposition-site choice". Ann. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. Vol 41: 39-57. [Crossref]
22. Shine R. (1995): "A new hypothesis for the evolution of viviparity in reptiles". Am. Nat. Vol 145: 809-823. [Crossref]
23. Shine R., Harlow P.S. (1996): "Maternal manipulation of offspring phenotypes via nest-site selection in an oviparous lizard". Ecology Vol 77: 1808-1817. [Crossref]
24. Shine R., Elphick M.J., Harlow P.S. (1997): "The influence of natural incubation environments on the phenotypic traits of hatchling lizards". Ecology Vol 78: 2559-2568. [Crossref]
25. Towns D.R. (1975a): "Ecology of the black shore skink, Leiolopisma suteri (Lacertilia: Scincidae), in boulder beach habitats". New Zealand J. Zool. Vol 2: 389-407. [Crossref]
26. Towns D.R. (1975b): "Reproduction and growth of the black shore skink, Leiolopisma suteri (Lacertilia: Scincidae)". New Zealand J. Zool. Vol 2: 409-423. [Crossref]
27. Warner D.A., Andrews R.M. (2002): "Nest-site selection in relation to temperature and moisture by the lizard Sceloporus undulatus". Herpetologica Vol 58: 399-407. [Crossref]
28. Webb J.K., Shine R., Christian K.A. (2006): "The adaptive significance of reptilian viviparity in the tropics: testing the maternal manipulation hypothesis". Evolution Vol 60: 115-122.
29. Whitaker A.H. (1968): "Leiolopisma suteri (Boulenger), an oviparous skink in New Zealand". New Zealand J. Sci. Vol 11: 425-432.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Amphibia-Reptilia — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation