Field body temperatures, mechanisms of thermoregulation and evolution of thermal characteristics in lacertid lizards

A. M. Castilla, R. Van Damme, D. Bauwens

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We discuss three aspects of the thermal biology of lacertid lizards. First, we provide an overview of the available data on field body temperatures (T(b)), the thermal sensitivity of various performance functions and selected body temperatures in different species of lacertid lizards. We also briefly summarise information on the mechanisms of thermoregulation. Second, we discuss recent developments to estimate the 'precision' of thermoregulation, and the contribution of distinct behavioural mechanisms. Finally, we revise available evidence for the existence of evolutionary adjustments of thermal characteristics in lacertid lizards. Existing studies have mainly dealt with within- and among-species differences in thermoregulatory behaviour (selected temperatures) and thermal physiology of adults (optimal temperatures, heating rates). Available data provide only limited evidence for clear-cut evolutionary shifts in thermal physiology characteristics along climatic gradients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-274
Number of pages22
JournalNatura Croatica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 1999



  • Body temperatures
  • Lacertidae
  • Thermal sensitivity
  • Thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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