A review of the effects of incubation conditions on hatchling phenotypes in non-squamate reptiles

Christopher R. Gatto, Richard D. Reina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Developing embryos of oviparous reptiles show substantial plasticity in their responses to environmental conditions during incubation, which can include altered sex ratios, morphology, locomotor performance and hatching success. While recent research and reviews have focused on temperature during incubation, emerging evidence suggests other environmental variables are also important in determining hatchling phenotypes. Understanding how the external environment influences development is important for species management and requires identifying how environmental variables exert their effects individually, and how they interact to affect developing embryos. To address this knowledge gap, we review the literature on phenotypic responses in oviparous non-squamate (i.e., turtles, crocodilians and tuataras) reptile hatchlings to temperature, moisture, oxygen concentration and salinity. We examine how these variables influence one another and consider how changes in each variable alters incubation conditions and thus, hatchling phenotypes. We explore how incubation conditions drive variation in hatchling phenotypes and influence adult populations. Finally, we highlight knowledge gaps and suggest future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-233
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B-Biochemical Systemic and Environmental Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Development
  • Egg-laying reptiles
  • Hatchling
  • Incubation environment
  • Phenotype

Cite this