The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

2020 Impact Factor for the Herpetological Journal is 0.862

pdf 06. Soil Acidification Negatively Affects Embryonic Development of Flexible-shelled Lizard Eggs


Open Access

pp. 107-111
Authors: Marco, Adolfo; López-Vicente, María L. & Pérez-Mellado, Valentín

Abstract: Many reptile species dig underground nests where they deposit eggs with flexible and permeable shells that have physical contact with the soil and are highly permeable to soil water and gases. Iberian rock lizard eggs (Lacerta monticola cyrenni) incubated in acidic substrates suffered significant impairment to their development. Therefore, soil pollution could be affecting embryonic development. Low pH had a negative effect on egg water exchange, hatchling size and locomotor performance. In all cases, pH had no effect on incubation duration and embryo survival. At substrate pH of 4 and 10, eggs absorbed less water and final egg size and weight was lower than at neutral pH. Hatchlings from eggs incubated in acidic substrates had lower mass (up to 28 % of weight), SVL, and tail length than controls. Running speed – a good indicator of lizard fitness – was also affected by substrate pH. Embryos incubated at pH 4 ran slower than controls. The alteration of the water absorption process that low substrate pH had on eggs during incubation partially explained the observed effects on hatchling characteristics. These sublethal effects may influence the survival or success of juveniles during or after their first wintering.


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Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.