Ecology and Evolution
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.
Goller, Maria; Goller, Franz; and French, Susannah S., "A Heterogenous Thermal Environment Enables Remarkable Behavioral Thermoregulation in Uta Stansburiana" (2014). Biology Faculty Publications. Paper 1039.