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Thermoregulatory Behaviour of Rock Lizards in Response To Tail Loss

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The consequences of tail loss on the thermal biology of high-altitude rock lizards (Lacerta monticola) were studied by comparing field body temperatures, selected body temperatures in a gradient, and behavioural patterns of thermoregulation of tailed and tailless lizards in the field. Neither field nor selected body temperatures differed significantly between these groups. Time spent basking, mean duration of basking, and basking frequency did not differ between tailed and tailless lizards. Tailless lizards seemingly adjusted for running impairment by using rocks to a greater extent than did tailed lizards, and low morning body temperatures by increasing maximal duration of basking periods and keeping shorter distances to the nearest refuge. Tailless lizards modify thermoregulatory behaviour, but obtain the same thermoregulatory precision as tailed lizards, possibly allowing maximization of physiological processes linked to tail regeneration.

Affiliations: 1: (Departamento de Ecologia Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, C. José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid. Spain


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