Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Ecology and Evolution

Volume

4

Issue

17

Publication Date

5-27-2014

First Page

3319

Last Page

3329

DOI

10.1002/ece3.1141

Abstract

Ectotherms can attain preferred body temperatures by selecting specific temperature microhabitats within a varied thermal environment. The side-blotched lizard, Uta stansburiana may employ microhabitat selection to thermoregulate behaviorally. It is unknown to what degree habitat structural complexity provides thermal microhabitats for thermoregulation. Thermal microhabitat structure, lizard temperature, and substrate preference were simultaneously evaluated using thermal imaging. A broad range of microhabitat temperatures was available (mean range of 11°C within 1–2 m2) while mean lizard temperature was between 36°C and 38°C. Lizards selected sites that differed significantly from the mean environmental temperature, indicating behavioral thermoregulation, and maintained a temperature significantly above that of their perch (mean difference of 2.6°C). Uta’s thermoregulatory potential within a complex thermal microhabitat structure suggests that a warming trend may prove advantageous, rather than detrimental for this population.

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