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The effects of temperature on prey handling time in the common lizard, Lacerta vivipara

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The time taken by adult Lacerta vivipara to manipulate and swallow living crickets or mealworms (handling time, H) is determined by body temperature and by the size of the prey. H increases exponentially with decreasing body temperature. It increases with prey size at any temperature in proportion to (prey mass)3. H did not change when a lizard fed sequentially on a number of smaller invertebrates, except that the duration for the first item was usually greater than the mean for the remainder. Feeding resulted in an increase in respiration frequency which was proportionately greater at lower temperatures. Feeding was often interspersed with pauses which increased in duration with decreasing body temperature and increasing prey size.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, The University, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK


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