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Preferred temperatures of Podarcis vaucheri from Morocco: intraspecific variation and interspecific comparisons

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Preferred body temperatures (Tp) were analysed in the lacertid Podarcis vaucheri, from S. Iberia and N. Africa which has been recently revalidated as a full species within the P. hispanica complex. Adult lizards from a Moroccan population were exposed to a thermal gradient and Tp was measured at ten time intervals. Intraspecific Tp variation due to sex and reproductive condition (Tp: non-pregnant females ≥ males ≥ pregnant females) and time of the day (Tp: early morning > rest of the day) was detected. Pregnant females tended to increase their Tp after egg-laying. This dependence on the reproductive condition parallels findings in other lacertids. Class-by-class comparisons between P. vaucheri and P. (hispanica) liolepis from NE Iberia, analysed with the same methodology, revealed higher Tp values in P. vaucheri (non-pregnant females). Although further research is needed to determine the evolutionary pattern of the Tp divergence in this group, these results are compatible with the thermal rigidity hypothesis reinforcing the view of P. hispanica s.l. as an artificial assemblage.

Affiliations: 1: CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal; Departamento de Zoologia e Antropologia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal; 2: CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal


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