The adaptive significance of reptilian viviparity in the tropics

Testing the maternal manipulation hypothesis

J Webb, R Shine, Keith Christian

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Phylogenetic transitions from oviparity to viviparity in reptiles generally have occurred in cold climates, apparently driven by selective advantages accruing from maternal regulation of incubation temperature. But why, then, are viviparous reptiles so successful in tropical climates? Viviparity might enhance fitness in the tropics via the same pathway as in the temperate zone, if pregnant female reptiles in the tropics maintain more stable temperatures than are available in nests (Shine's maternal manipulation hypothesis). Alternatively, viviparity might succeed in the tropics for entirely different reasons than apply in the temperate zone. Our data support the maternal manipulation hypothesis. In a laboratory thermal gradient, pregnant death adders (Acanthophis praelongus) from tropical Australia maintained less variable body temperatures (but similar mean temperatures) than did nonpregnant females. Females kept at a diel range of 25-31�C (as selected by pregnant females) gave birth earlier and produced larger offspring (greater body length and head size) than did females kept at 23-33�C (as selected by nonpregnant snakes). Larger body size enhanced offspring recapture rates (presumably reflecting survival rates) in the field. Thus, even in the tropics, reproducing female reptiles manipulate the thermal regimes experienced by their developing embryos in ways that enhance the fitness of their offspring. This similarity across climatic zones suggests that a single general hypothesis - maternal manipulation of thermal conditions for embryogenesis - may explain the selective advantage of viviparity in tropical as well as cold-climate reptiles. � 2006 The Society for the Study of Evolution. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)115-122
    Number of pages8
    JournalEvolution; international journal of organic evolution
    Volume60
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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    viviparity
    vivipary (animals)
    Reptiles
    tropics
    reptile
    reptiles
    Mothers
    Cold Climate
    Hot Temperature
    cold zones
    testing
    temperate zones
    Temperature
    fitness
    oviparity
    Oviparity
    Tropical Climate
    ovipary
    heat
    temperature

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Phylogenetic transitions from oviparity to viviparity in reptiles generally have occurred in cold climates, apparently driven by selective advantages accruing from maternal regulation of incubation temperature. But why, then, are viviparous reptiles so successful in tropical climates? Viviparity might enhance fitness in the tropics via the same pathway as in the temperate zone, if pregnant female reptiles in the tropics maintain more stable temperatures than are available in nests (Shine's maternal manipulation hypothesis). Alternatively, viviparity might succeed in the tropics for entirely different reasons than apply in the temperate zone. Our data support the maternal manipulation hypothesis. In a laboratory thermal gradient, pregnant death adders (Acanthophis praelongus) from tropical Australia maintained less variable body temperatures (but similar mean temperatures) than did nonpregnant females. Females kept at a diel range of 25-31�C (as selected by pregnant females) gave birth earlier and produced larger offspring (greater body length and head size) than did females kept at 23-33�C (as selected by nonpregnant snakes). Larger body size enhanced offspring recapture rates (presumably reflecting survival rates) in the field. Thus, even in the tropics, reproducing female reptiles manipulate the thermal regimes experienced by their developing embryos in ways that enhance the fitness of their offspring. This similarity across climatic zones suggests that a single general hypothesis - maternal manipulation of thermal conditions for embryogenesis - may explain the selective advantage of viviparity in tropical as well as cold-climate reptiles. � 2006 The Society for the Study of Evolution. All rights reserved.",
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    author = "J Webb and R Shine and Keith Christian",
    year = "2006",
    language = "English",
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    The adaptive significance of reptilian viviparity in the tropics : Testing the maternal manipulation hypothesis. / Webb, J; Shine, R; Christian, Keith.

    In: Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, Vol. 60, No. 1, 2006, p. 115-122.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - The adaptive significance of reptilian viviparity in the tropics

    T2 - Testing the maternal manipulation hypothesis

    AU - Webb, J

    AU - Shine, R

    AU - Christian, Keith

    PY - 2006

    Y1 - 2006

    N2 - Phylogenetic transitions from oviparity to viviparity in reptiles generally have occurred in cold climates, apparently driven by selective advantages accruing from maternal regulation of incubation temperature. But why, then, are viviparous reptiles so successful in tropical climates? Viviparity might enhance fitness in the tropics via the same pathway as in the temperate zone, if pregnant female reptiles in the tropics maintain more stable temperatures than are available in nests (Shine's maternal manipulation hypothesis). Alternatively, viviparity might succeed in the tropics for entirely different reasons than apply in the temperate zone. Our data support the maternal manipulation hypothesis. In a laboratory thermal gradient, pregnant death adders (Acanthophis praelongus) from tropical Australia maintained less variable body temperatures (but similar mean temperatures) than did nonpregnant females. Females kept at a diel range of 25-31�C (as selected by pregnant females) gave birth earlier and produced larger offspring (greater body length and head size) than did females kept at 23-33�C (as selected by nonpregnant snakes). Larger body size enhanced offspring recapture rates (presumably reflecting survival rates) in the field. Thus, even in the tropics, reproducing female reptiles manipulate the thermal regimes experienced by their developing embryos in ways that enhance the fitness of their offspring. This similarity across climatic zones suggests that a single general hypothesis - maternal manipulation of thermal conditions for embryogenesis - may explain the selective advantage of viviparity in tropical as well as cold-climate reptiles. � 2006 The Society for the Study of Evolution. All rights reserved.

    AB - Phylogenetic transitions from oviparity to viviparity in reptiles generally have occurred in cold climates, apparently driven by selective advantages accruing from maternal regulation of incubation temperature. But why, then, are viviparous reptiles so successful in tropical climates? Viviparity might enhance fitness in the tropics via the same pathway as in the temperate zone, if pregnant female reptiles in the tropics maintain more stable temperatures than are available in nests (Shine's maternal manipulation hypothesis). Alternatively, viviparity might succeed in the tropics for entirely different reasons than apply in the temperate zone. Our data support the maternal manipulation hypothesis. In a laboratory thermal gradient, pregnant death adders (Acanthophis praelongus) from tropical Australia maintained less variable body temperatures (but similar mean temperatures) than did nonpregnant females. Females kept at a diel range of 25-31�C (as selected by pregnant females) gave birth earlier and produced larger offspring (greater body length and head size) than did females kept at 23-33�C (as selected by nonpregnant snakes). Larger body size enhanced offspring recapture rates (presumably reflecting survival rates) in the field. Thus, even in the tropics, reproducing female reptiles manipulate the thermal regimes experienced by their developing embryos in ways that enhance the fitness of their offspring. This similarity across climatic zones suggests that a single general hypothesis - maternal manipulation of thermal conditions for embryogenesis - may explain the selective advantage of viviparity in tropical as well as cold-climate reptiles. � 2006 The Society for the Study of Evolution. All rights reserved.

    KW - adaptive radiation

    KW - body size

    KW - fitness

    KW - incubation

    KW - maternal effect

    KW - phylogenetics

    KW - snake

    KW - tropical environment

    KW - viviparity

    KW - Australasia

    KW - Australia

    KW - Acanthophis antarcticus

    KW - Acanthophis praelongus

    KW - Reptilia

    KW - Serpentes

    KW - adaptation

    KW - animal

    KW - article

    KW - biological model

    KW - body temperature

    KW - evolution

    KW - female

    KW - male

    KW - newborn

    KW - ovoviviparity

    KW - phenotype

    KW - phylogeny

    KW - physiology

    KW - tropic climate

    KW - Adaptation, Physiological

    KW - Animals

    KW - Animals, Newborn

    KW - Body Temperature

    KW - Evolution

    KW - Female

    KW - Male

    KW - Models, Biological

    KW - Ovoviviparity

    KW - Phenotype

    KW - Phylogeny

    KW - Snakes

    KW - Tropical Climate

    M3 - Article

    VL - 60

    SP - 115

    EP - 122

    JO - Evolution; international journal of organic evolution

    JF - Evolution; international journal of organic evolution

    SN - 0014-3820

    IS - 1

    ER -