Being Efficient Despite Adversity. How Do Lizards Do It?
Valdecantos, S., Martinez, V., Lobo, F. and Cruz, F.B. 2013. Thermal biology of Liolaemus lizards from the high Andes: Being efficient despite adversity. Journal of Thermal Biology 38: 126-134.
Not willing to give Earth's lizards up to this potential threat so readily, the four Argentine researchers studied four related species - Liolaemus irregularis, L. albiceps, L. multicolor, and L. yanalcu - that inhabit high-elevation desert areas in Northwestern Argentina, Northern Chile and Southwestern Bolivia, working both in the laboratory and at four sites near San Antonio de los Cobres in Salta, Argentina, where they measured body temperatures (Tb), air temperatures (Ta), soil temperatures (Ts), operative temperatures in the field (Te) and preferred body temperatures (Tpref) for all four species. And what did they find?
Valdecantos et al. report that all four species, "despite living at high elevation and harsh climatic conditions," were able to "behaviorally or physiologically thermo-regulate to achieve body temperatures close to their preferred temperatures." And in discussing this finding further, they conclude, "as proposed by Labra et al. (2009)," that "many species are conservative in some aspects (e.g. Tpref), yet labile in others (e.g. Tb), thus "allowing them to inhabit a wide range of environments," even those that would appear to be outside their range of habitability.
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