Developmental environments do not affect thermal physiological traits in reptiles: An experimental test and meta-analysis

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 4 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint


Rose Zhang, Kris Wild, Patrice Pottier , Maider Iglesias Carrasco, Shinichi Nakagawa, Daniel W.A. Noble


On a global scale, organisms face significant challenges due to climate change and anthropogenic disturbance. In many ectotherms, developmental and physiological processes are sensitive to changes in temperature and resources. Developmental plasticity in thermal physiology may provide adaptive advantages to environmental extremes if early environmental conditions are predictive of late-life environments. Here, we conducted a laboratory experiment to test how developmental temperature and maternal resource investment influence thermal physiological traits (critical thermal maximum: CTmax & thermal preference: Tpref) in a common skink (Lampropholis delicata). We then compared our experimental findings more broadly across reptiles (snakes, lizards, turtles) using meta-analysis. In both our experimental study and meta-analysis, we did not find evidence that developmental environments influence CTmax or Tpref . Furthermore, the effects of developmental environments on thermal physiology did not vary by age, taxon, or climate zone (temperate/tropical). Overall, the magnitude of developmental plasticity on thermal physiology appears to be limited across reptile taxa suggesting that behavioural or evolutionary processes may be more important. However, there is a paucity of information across most reptile taxa, and a broader focus on thermal performance curves themselves will be critical in understanding the impacts of changing thermal conditions on reptiles in the future.



Evolution, Integrative Biology, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


thermal physiology, meta-analysis, Developmental plasticity, acclimation response ratio, lizards, snake, turtle, tortoise


Published: 2023-01-18 12:39

Last Updated: 2023-05-10 02:30

Older Versions

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:

Data and Code Availability Statement:
Experimental and meta-analytic datasets are available from: