Effects of Incubation Temperature on the Energetics of Embryonic Development and Hatchling Morphology in the Brisbane River Turtle Emydura Signata

J Comp Physiol B. 1998 Jul;168(5):399-404. doi: 10.1007/s003600050159.


Incubation temperature and the amount of water taken up by eggs from the substrate during incubation affects hatchling size and morphology in many oviparous reptiles. The Brisbane river turtle Emydura signata lays hard-shelled eggs and hatchling mass was unaffected by the amount of water gained or lost during incubation. Constant temperature incubation of eggs at 24 degrees C, 26 degrees C, 28 degrees C and 31 degrees C had no effect on hatchling mass, yolk-free hatchling mass, residual yolk mass, carapace length, carapace width, plastron length or plastron width. However, hatchlings incubated at 26 degrees C and 28 degrees C had wider heads than hatchlings incubated at 24 degrees C and 31 degrees C. Incubation period varied inversely with incubation temperature, while the rate of increase in oxygen consumption during the first part of incubation and the peak rate of oxygen consumption varied directly with incubation temperature. The total amount of oxygen consumed during development and hatchling production cost was significantly greater at 24 degrees C than at 26 degrees C, 28 degrees C and 31 degrees C. Hatchling mass and dimensions and total embryonic energy expenditure was directly proportional to initial egg mass.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fresh Water
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Regression Analysis
  • Temperature*
  • Turtles / physiology*