Thermal biology, microhabitat selection, and conservation of the insular lizard Podarcis hispanica atrata

Aurora M. Castilla, Dirk Bauwens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied aspects of the thermal biology and microhabitat selection of the endangered lizard Podarcis hispanica atrata during autumn in the field and laboratory. Body temperatures (Tb) of active lizards were within a narrow range, were largely independent of ambient temperatures, and exhibited little diel variation. Activity Tbs largely coincided with the selected temperatures maintained in a laboratory thermogradient and with Tbs that maximize running performance. Alternation of basking with other activities and shuttling between sun and shade were obvious aspects of thermoregulatory behaviour. Lizards shifted microhabitat use throughout the day. During early morning and late afternoon, basking lizards were restricted to rocky sites surrounded by shrubs. Near midday lizards used a wider array of microhabitats, and many moved in open grassy sites. Juveniles maintained lower activity Tbs, had lower selected temperatures, and basked less frequently than the adults. Juveniles occupied open grassy patches more often than the adults. We discuss the relevance of our results for the conservation of this extremely rare lizard and the management of its habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-374
Number of pages9
JournalOecologia
Volume85
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes

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lizard
microhabitat
microhabitats
lizards
heat
Biological Sciences
diel variation
body temperature
habitat conservation
Podarcis
shade
ambient temperature
temperature
shrub
shrubs
autumn
habitat
laboratory

Keywords

  • Body temperature
  • Conservation
  • Habitat selection
  • Locomotor performance
  • Podarcis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Thermal biology, microhabitat selection, and conservation of the insular lizard Podarcis hispanica atrata. / Castilla, Aurora M.; Bauwens, Dirk.

In: Oecologia, Vol. 85, No. 3, 01.1991, p. 366-374.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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