We investigated whether the thermal history of Black Rat Snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) and Northern Water Snakes (Nerodia sipedon) during development affected their preferred body temperatures (PBT) after hatching or birth. Eggs of black rat snakes were incubated at high or low temperatures. Gravid female water snakes were maintained in rooms under low, medium, or high ambient temperatures. PBT of neonates were measured in a controlled thermal gradient. We only found plasticity in PBT with developmental temperature for northern water snakes, where offspring that developed under warmer temperatures demonstrated a significant preference for warmer temperatures. Our results suggest that PBT are plastic in only some species of snakes and may explain some of the individual variation in PBT observed in adult snakes.
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Vol. 2000 • No. 3