Before they hatch, these lizards are tailored to whatever habitat they’re in

Closed-litter Rainbow-skink (Carlia longipes)

Carlia longipes, looking right at home on a rock. Photo by berniedup.

Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot
we’ll be adapted whatever the weather, whether you like it or not.

Life is risky for a newly hatched lizard. You have to make your way in a habitat you’ve never seen before, full of all sorts of larger animals that think you’d make a decent snack, if maybe not a full meal. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could’ve been preparing for the conditions you’ll meet out there even before you crack through that shell?

Well, for one species of skinks, it looks like this may be exactly what happens. A recent paper in The American Naturalist makes the case that rainbow skinks (Carlia longipes) develop in their eggs to match the habitat conditions around their nest—based on the temperature of the nest.

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