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

2021 Impact Factor from Clarivate for the Herpetological Journal is 1.194, an increase of 0.332 from 2020.

pdf 01. Thermoregulation and activity patterns in captive water dragons, Physignathus cocincinus, in a naturalistic environment


Open Access


Authors: Roger Meek

Abstract: Observations were made on the thermoregulatory behaviour and activity patterns of Physignathus cocincinus in a simulated tropical environment. P. cocincinus is a sit-and-wait predator with movement restricted to a maximum of 9 or 10 bursts of activity per day. Both terrestrial and aquatic activity were temperature dependent, and were greatest in hot, sunny weather. When the weather was overcast, the lizards spent most of their time in open areas and at higher levels in the canopy; increased sunshine induced movement to lower levels, with more time spent in shade. Regression analysis of the relationship between lizard and model temperatures was used to determine thermoregulation. P. cocincinus is basically a thermoconformer, but needs to thermoregulate on sunny days to avoid excessive heat loads. Control of body temperature during hot and intermittent sunshine was principally achieved by seeking shade and partial basking. On cloudy days the animals were thermoconformers, as environmental temperatures were sufficiently high to enable locomotory activity and feeding to take place, but not so high that excessive heat loads became a problem.

Keywords: Physignathus cocincinus, thermoregulation, activity patterns

Download Access:

The latest 8 issues can be downloaded when logged in with a Herpetological Journal subscription membership.

Individual articles can be purchased for download.

Older issues and occasional Open Access articles are available for public download


For further information and submission guidelines please see our Journal Instructions to Authors

pdfBHS Ethics Policy


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.