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Temperature-induced Multi-species Cohort Effects in Sympatric Snakes
  • Richard King
Richard King
Northern Illinois University
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Abstract

In reptiles, reproductive maturity is often determined by size rather than age. Consequently, growth early in life may influence population dynamics through effects on generation time and survival to reproduction. Because reproductive phenology and pre- and post-natal growth are temperature-dependent, environmental conditions may induce multi-species cohort effects on body size in sympatric reptiles. I present evidence of this using ten years of neonatal size data for three sympatric viviparous snakes, Dekay’s Brownsnakes (Storeria dekayi), Red-bellied Snakes (S. occipitomaculata) and Common Gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis). End-of-season neonatal size varied in parallel across species such that snout-vent length was 36-61% greater and mass was 65-223% greater in years when gestating females could achieve higher April-May (vs. June-July or August-September) operative temperatures. Thus, temperature had a larger impact during follicular enlargement and ovulation than during gestation or post-natal growth. Multi-species cohort effects like these may affect population dynamics and increase with climate change.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

23 Nov 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
24 Nov 2021Submission Checks Completed
24 Nov 2021Assigned to Editor
01 Dec 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
19 Dec 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Dec 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
05 Jan 20221st Revision Received
06 Jan 2022Assigned to Editor
06 Jan 2022Submission Checks Completed
06 Jan 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending