Day-degrees models of nematode development assume that temperature stochasticity has no effect on the development rate of infective stages as long as the mean temperature is held constant. This assumption was tested in this study. Unembryonated Heterakis gallinarum eggs were subjected to nocturnal and diurnal daily temperature cycles at 12 and 17 C, respectively, and embryonation was compared with eggs subjected to similar stochastic daily cycles, in which random normal variations in the temperature were added to the 2 temperatures. The prediction that there is no effect of stochasticity was refuted. Embryonation of eggs subjected to variable daily cycles occurred significantly earlier than that of eggs subjected to deterministic daily cycles, suggesting that stochastic variation in temperature accelerated embryonation even though mean temperatures were the same. These findings show that the development time of H. gallinarum eggs is decreased by stochastic variation in temperature, which may have important implications for the effects of climate change on parasite availability.
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