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Gruber et al_JEB_2017.pdf (1.26 MB)

Disentangling sex allocation in a viviparous reptile with temperature-dependent sex determination: a multifactorial approach

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 14:08 authored by Gruber, J, Cunningham, GD, Geoffrey WhileGeoffrey While, Erik WapstraErik Wapstra
Females are predicted to alter sex allocation when ecological, physiological and behavioural variables have different consequences on the fitness of male and female offspring. Traditionally, tests of sex allocation have examined single causative factors, often ignoring possible interactions between multiple factors. Here, we used a multifactorial approach to examine sex allocation in the viviparous skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus. We integrated a 16-year observational field study with a manipulative laboratory experiment to explore whether the effects of the maternal thermal environment interact with the resources available to females for reproduction to affect sex allocation decisions. We found strong effects of temperature on sex allocation in the field, with females born in warm conditions and males in cold conditions; however, this was not replicated in the laboratory. In contrast, we found no effect of female resource availability on sex allocation, either independently, or in interaction with temperature. These results corresponded with an overall lack of an effect of resource availability on any of the life history traits that we predicted would mediate the benefits of differential sex allocation in this system, suggesting that selection for sex allocation in response to resource availability may be relatively weak. Combined, these results suggest that temperature may be the predominant factor driving sex allocation in this system.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Journal of Evolutionary Biology








School of Natural Sciences


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 EUROPEAN SOCIETY FOR EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY This is the peer reviewed version of the cited article, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences

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