Microgeographic Variation in Response of Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) Embryos to Similar Incubation Environments

Tucker, John
Warner, Daniel
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We examined site-specific variation in the response of red-eared slider (Trachemys elegans) embryos exposed to similar incubation environments, and collected at five nearby sites central Illinois. Overall, site was not a significant source of variance in change in egg mass during bation, in hatchling wet mass, and in hatchling carapace length. However, site was a significant source variance in incubation period. Nonetheless, significant site-specific differences in each trait were in pairwise comparisons. The actual difference between extremes was small. Eggs from the site longest incubation period also gained the most water during incubation. Our study has important cations for future studies of geographic variation in the physiological response of embryos to incubation environments. Comparisons between eggs and embryos from geographically distant sites would benefit inclusion of as many clutches as possible. Larger numbers of clutches reduce the possibility that ferences between geographically distant regions are due to maternal differences rather than region-differences. Studies comparing embryonic responses from geographically distant regions would be strengthened by including turtles from as many local collecting sites for each region as possible. Sampling site per region may be inadequate because any geographic variation in embryonic response could well be due to undetected local site-specific differences.


This article is published as Tucker, John K., and Daniel A. Warner. "Microgeographic variation in response of red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) embryos to similar incubation environments." Journal of Herpetology 33 (1999): 549-557. doi: 10.2307/1565571.