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vol. 160, no. 3 the american naturalist september 2002 A Model for Optimal Reaction Norms: The Case
 

Summary: vol. 160, no. 3 the american naturalist september 2002
A Model for Optimal Reaction Norms: The Case
of the Pregnant Garter Snake and Her
Temperature-Sensitive Embryos
Stevan J. Arnold1,* and Charles R. Peterson2,
1. Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis,
Oregon 97331;
2. Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University,
Pocatello, Idaho 82309
Submitted June 19, 2001; Accepted February 6, 2002
abstract: We present a model to test Osgood's (1978) proposition
that viviparous snakes have optimal reaction norms for temperature-
sensitive meristic traits, such as scale counts. Our model predicts
that traits that are subject to temperature effects during development
will evolve a flat or U-shaped reaction norm (average scale count as
a function of developmental temperature). We tested this prediction
by maintaining 67 female garter snakes (Thamnophis elegans) at eight
different constant temperatures (21 33 C) during pregnancy and
making a series of scale counts on their newborn offspring (n p
). To insure that the experimental temperatures were ecologically491

  

Source: Arnold, Stevan J. - Department of Zoology, Oregon State University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology