Navigation Links
Lizard moms may prepare their babies for a stressful world
Date:4/19/2012

Stressed out lizard moms tend to give their developing embryos short shrift, but the hardship may ultimately be a good thing for the babies once they're born, according to a study published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

Stress changes the way animals allocate energy. During predator attacks or food shortages, hormones are released that help the body to access stored energy. But for pregnant females there's a potential trade-off. Stress hormones could rob precious energy from developing embryos, leading to offspring that aren't as healthy.

A research team led by Erik Wapstra of the University of Tasmania, Australia, tested the effects of stress on southern grass skinks, which, unlike many lizards, give birth to live young rather than laying eggs.

In the lab, the researchers recreated the physiology of a stressful situation by artificially raising levels of the stress hormone corticosterone in pregnant skins. Other skinks had their food intake limited, recreating the stress of a food shortage. The team then measured the health of the stressed mothers and their eventual offspring, and compared their state to mothers and offspring that weren't under stress.

The study found that stressed moms gave birth to smaller offspring that grew more slowly than those born to low-stress mothers. Stressed mothers themselves were found to be in better physical shape after giving birth than non-stressed mothers. That's a signal that when stressors are present, mothers tend to allocate energy to self-preservation first.

Despite seemingly getting the short end of the stick, the news wasn't all bad for offspring of stressed mothers. "We found that small offspring had larger fat reserves relative to body size, which may enhance offspring survival in a stressful post-natal environment," the researchers write. Previous studies have also shown that smaller juvenile lizards often do better when predator density is high or when food availability is low.

It appears that a mother's stress-induced selfishness may actually help to pre-adapt her babies for a stressful world.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
401-284-3878
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Tree lizard’s quick release escape system makes jumpers turn somersaults
2. Genetic study finds treasure trove of new lizards
3. Lizards change their diet to avoid predators
4. New monitor lizard discovered in Indonesia
5. No lounge for local lizards as living room vanishes
6. Family ties bind desert lizards in social groups
7. Researchers link an African lizard fossil in Africa with the Komodo dragon in Indonesia
8. Female lizard turns the table: Why exaggerated coloration makes her a good mate
9. US National Fire Plan, return of Ozark lizard and the Arctic Tundras fire regime
10. Discovery places turtles next to lizards on family tree
11. Restoration as science: case of the collared lizard
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Lizard moms may prepare their babies for a stressful world
(Date:4/5/2017)... Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the launch ... dynamic digital window into the human cell. The website ... deep learning to create predictive models of cell organization, ... suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer will ... resources created and shared by the Allen Institute for ...
(Date:4/4/2017)...   EyeLock LLC , a leader of iris-based ... Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. Patent ... an iris image with a face image acquired in ... 45 th issued patent. "The ... the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently come to ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... HONG KONG , March 30, 2017 ... developed a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground ... technology into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use ... applications at an affordable cost. ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... of a complex biological network, a depiction of a system of linkages and ... Dmitry Korkin, PhD, associate professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Vilnius, Lithuania, announced today that they have entered into a multiyear collaboration to ... provide CRISPR researchers with additional tools for gene editing across all applications. , ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... with the addition of its newest module, US Hemostats & Sealants. , SmartTRAK’s ... hemostats, absorbable hemostats, fibrin sealants, synthetic sealants and biologic sealants used in surgical ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze and interpret ... Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery of the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: