Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Divergent incubation temperature effects on thermal sensitivity of hatchling performance in two different latitudinal populations of an invasive turtle.

Abstract

The incubation temperature for embryonic development affects several aspects of hatchling performance, but its impact on the thermal sensitivity of performance attributes remains poorly investigated. In the present study, Trachemys scripta elegans hatchlings from two different latitudinal populations were collected to assess the effects of different incubation temperatures on the locomotor (swimming speed) and physiological (heart rate) performances, and the thermal sensitivity of these two attributes. The incubation temperature significantly affected the examined physiological traits. Hatchling turtles produced at low incubation temperature exhibited relatively higher cold tolerance (lower body temperatures at which the animals lose the ability to escape from the lethal conditions), and reduced heart rate and swimming speed. Furthermore, the effect of incubation temperature on the thermal sensitivity of swimming speed differed between the low- and high-latitude populations. At relatively high incubation temperatures, the high-latitude hatchling turtles exhibited reduced thermal sensitivities of swimming speed than those of the low-latitude ones. Reduced thermal sensitivity of locomotor performance together with high cold tolerance, exhibited by the high-latitude hatchling turtles potentially reflected local adaptation to relatively colder and more thermally-variable environments.