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Abstract

The thermal environment experienced during embryonic development can profoundly affect the phenotype, and potentially the fitness, of ectothermic animals. We examined the effect of incubation temperature on the thermal preferences of juveniles in the oviparous lizard, Anolis carolinensis. Temperature preference trials were conducted in a laboratory thermal gradient within 48 hr of hatching and after 22–27 days of maintenance in a common laboratory environment. Incubation temperature had a significant effect on the upper limit of the interquartile range (IQR) of temperatures selected by A. carolinensis within the first 2 days after hatching. Between the first and second trials, the IQR of selected temperatures decreased significantly and both the lower limit of the IQR and the median selected temperature increased significantly. This, along with a significant incubation temperature by time interaction in the upper limit of the IQR, resulted in a pattern of convergence in thermoregulation among treatment groups. The initial differences in selected temperatures, as well as the shift in selected temperatures between first and second trials, demonstrate plasticity in temperature selection. As a previous study failed to find environmentally induced plasticity in temperature selection in adult A. carolinensis, this study suggests that this type of plasticity is exclusive to the period of neonatal development. J. Exp. Zool. 307A:439–448, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.