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The Effect of Incubation Temperature on the Morphological Features of Grass Snake Natrix natrix (Linnaeus, 1758) (Ophidia: Colubridae)

Liya A. Idrisova, Ildar Z. Khairutdinov


Reptile phenotype is influenced by both external (environment) and internal (genotype) factors. However, the relation between these factors are not clear today. This research analyzes the influence of temperature during egg incubation on morphological characteristics of the grass snake. We found out that extreme high temperature resulted in shorter incubation length and smaller hatchlings. Coloration was also affected by thermal regime: there were more bright orange and yellow tones observed in the temporal spots, neck, labial scales and iris of hatchlings from high temperature regimes. Hatchlings which were incubated at extreme high temperatures were characterized by the largest spectrum and the highest frequency of deviations in pholidosis and malformations; as well some of them failed to hatch. The appearance of effect is influenced by exposure duration: hatchlings incubated at fluctuating temperatures demonstrated intermediate characteristics.


morphology; incubation temperature; pholidosis; coloration; malformations; grass snake; Natrix natrix

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