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Field metabolism of lizards from lower altitude regions of Baja California Sur (Mexico)

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Water flux rate and field metabolic rate of three free-ranging sympatric species of lizards (Uta stansburiana, Urosaurus nigricaudus and Cnemidophorus hyperythrus) were measured in the Cape Region, near La Paz (Baja California Sur, Mexico) using labelled water (3H2O and H2 18O). During the rainy season, the three species consumed the same prey. Caterpillars of Lepidoptera (7.1 ml H2O/g DM) were the most important in volume and mass. The lizards showed high water flux rates, which did not differ from those of non-desert species, but were 2 to 7 times higher than during the dry season. During the dry season the low rates of water flux were basically due to low metabolic rates. The water flux rate of C. hyperythrus in September was two to four times higher than rates in two other populations in the southern part of the Cape region, but the field metabolic rate was similar. Adult size in the El Comitán population (BM = 6.3 g) was larger than that in two Cabo San Lucas populations (BM = 4.4 and 3.9 g). These data suggest flexibility of responses of species and populations to environmental variation.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire d'Ecologie, CNRS URA 258, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 75005 Paris, France; 2: Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Baja California Sur, La Paz, 23000 BCS, Mexico


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