Effects of natural nest temperatures on sex reversal and sex ratios in an Australian alpine skink

Duminda S.B. Dissanayake, Clare E. Holleley, Arthur Georges

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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Altered climate regimes have the capacity to affect the physiology, development, ecology and behaviour of organisms dramatically, with consequential changes in individual fitness and so the ability of populations to persist under climatic change. More directly, extreme temperatures can directly skew the population sex ratio in some species, with substantial demographic consequences that influence the rate of population decline and recovery rates. In contrast, this is particularly true for species whose sex is determined entirely by temperature (TSD). The recent discovery of sex reversal in species with genotypic sex determination (GSD) due to extreme environmental temperatures in the wild broadens the range of species vulnerable to changing environmental temperatures through an influence on primary sex ratio. Here we document the levels of sex reversal in nests of the Australian alpine three-lined skink (Bassiana duperreyi), a species with sex chromosomes and sex reversal at temperatures below 20 °C and variation in rates of sex reversal with elevation. The frequency of sex reversal in nests of B. duperreyi ranged from 28.6% at the highest, coolest locations to zero at the lowest, warmest locations. Sex reversal in this alpine skink makes it a sensitive indicator of climate change, both in terms of changes in average temperatures and in terms of climatic variability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20093
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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