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

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pdf 01. Extreme variation in body temperature in a nocturnal thigmothermic lizard


Open Access

pp. 69-76
Authors: Rock, Jennifer & Cree, Alison

Abstract: Nocturnal lizards inhabiting cool temperate environments potentially experience a wide range of body temperatures (Tb). We used radio telemetry to characterize field Tb in a nocturnal diplodactylid gecko (Hoplodactylus maculatus) from a high-latitude (45°S), sub-alpine site in southern New Zealand. Variation in Tb within days (diel), among days and among different reproductive groups of this viviparous species (pregnant females, non-pregnant females and males) was measured with temperature-sensitive transmitters. We found that surgical implantation of transmitters did not have a significant effect on selected temperature on a laboratory gradient (Tsel). Field Tb values were examined in concert with Tsel and microhabitat temperature in late summer, revealing marked fluctuations of up to 30 °C in Tb both within and between days. When weather conditions allowed, all reproductive groups exhibited some degree of thermoregulation, with Tb generally elevated at least 4 °C above microhabitat temperature and within the bounds (central 50%) of Tsel at the warmest times of day on most days. Considerable thermoregulation occurred early in the day, particularly for pregnant females, and is likely to have involved some degree of direct solar basking. Temperature telemetry revealed both extreme variability in Tb and complexity of thermoregulatory behaviour in a primarily nocturnal, thigmothermic lizard.


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