Altitudinal variation of the thermal biology and running performance in the lizard Podarcis tiliguerta

Raoul Van Damme, Dirk Bauwens, Aurora M. Castilla, Rudolf F. Verheyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied, in the field and laboratory, aspects of the thermal biology in two populations of the lizard Podarcis tiliguerta along a 1450 m altitudinal gradient. Body temperatures (Tb) at high altitudes average lower, are more variable, but are more elevated above environmental temperatures than at sea level. Lizards partially reduced the impact of altitudinal changes in thermal loads through presumable subtle behavioural adjustments. A comparison of the thermal preferences in the laboratory, the maximal operative temperatures predicted from a biophysical model, and the activity Tb's at both sites, indicates that the main response to changing environmental conditions is an active shift in thermoregulatory set points. Integration of field Tb's and laboratory data on temperature specific sprint speeds, predicts that the mountainous lizards experience reduced running abilities that are especially acute in the early morning. Despite this impairment of running performance, the thermal sensitivity of running speed has not evolved to match the Tb's experienced by both populations. This result supports the view that the thermal physiology of this lizard is evolutionarily conservative, but the lack of information on the relation between running performance and fitness components impedes rejection of alternative hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-524
Number of pages9
JournalOecologia
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1989
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

lizard
lizards
heat
Biological Sciences
temperature
body temperature
physiology
fitness
environmental conditions
sea level
ambient temperature
Podarcis tiliguerta
environmental factors
laboratory
speed

Keywords

  • Altitudinal variation
  • Podarcis tiliguerta
  • Thermal biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Altitudinal variation of the thermal biology and running performance in the lizard Podarcis tiliguerta. / Van Damme, Raoul; Bauwens, Dirk; Castilla, Aurora M.; Verheyen, Rudolf F.

In: Oecologia, Vol. 80, No. 4, 09.1989, p. 516-524.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Van Damme, Raoul ; Bauwens, Dirk ; Castilla, Aurora M. ; Verheyen, Rudolf F. / Altitudinal variation of the thermal biology and running performance in the lizard Podarcis tiliguerta. In: Oecologia. 1989 ; Vol. 80, No. 4. pp. 516-524.
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