Meeting Abstract

66.2  Jan. 7  The use of pseudoserpential thermometry to assess the impact of nest site selection and facultative endothermy on the thermoregulation of embryonic development in pythons DENARDO, D.F.*; HOFFMAN, T.C.M.; Arizona State Univeristy, Tempe; Arizona State Univeristy, Tempe

Temperature has considerable effects on embryonic development that influence viability, developmental rate, offspring morphology, and offspring performance. For most oviparous reptiles, females influence the thermal environment of their developing embryos solely through nest site selection. Pythons, however, brood their eggs, and some species are facultatively endothermic during this time. Assessing the relative importance of nest site selection and heat production on the thermoregulation of developing python embryos is technically difficult in living individuals, as heat production by a female cannot be experimentally controlled. Therefore, we used automatic, adjustably endothermic, latex models to assess the impacts that endothermic capability, daily nest temperature cycle, and clutch size have on the thermal environment of the clutch. Results demonstrate that clutch thermoregulation would be more effective with increasing endothermic capability and that the benefit of facultative endothermy increases with an increase in the amplitude of the daily nest site temperature cycle. These results suggest that facultative endothermy during brooding provides female pythons with greater spatial and temporal nest site selection.