Questions for When a species can’t stand the heat


Before reading:

1.    What is an invasive species, and what are some impacts that releasing such a species can have on other species native to an ecosystem?

2.    Rare or unusual species of plants, animals and other organisms are often found on islands. Why do you think that is?

During reading:

1.    Why is the tuatara unique among reptiles?

2.    How many orders of reptiles are there?

3.    What is so special about the tuatara’s teeth?

4.    What threat does global warming present to the tuatara?

5.    Describe the other factors that threaten the ability of female tuatara to thrive and reproduce.

6.    Explain why the tuatara’s shifting of when and where it lays its eggs could restore the balance between males and females.

7.    Explain why scientists compare certain early warnings of environmental change as “canaries in the coal mine”?

8.    What future challenges may threaten the tuatara?

After reading:

1.    Based on your reading of this article, what is “temperature-dependent sex determination?”

2.    Explain why scientists believe reintroducing tuatara at multiple sites could serve as an “insurance policy.”


1.    The first people arrived in New Zealand roughly 750 years ago. That makes it one of the last major landmasses to be settled. Explain why you think that was the case.

2.    Wherever people have migrated by sea, rats accompanied them. What are some possible explanations for this?