Running performance with emphasis on low temperatures in a Patagonian lizard, Liolaemus lineomaculatus.

Research paper by N R NR Cecchetto, S M SM Medina, N R NR Ibargüengoytía

Indexed on: 09 Sep '20Published on: 09 Sep '20Published in: Scientific Reports


Lizard activity and endurance of cold climate is regulated by several factors such as evolutionary potential, acclimatization capacity, physiological tolerance, and locomotion among thermally advantageous microenvironments. Liolaemus lineomaculatus, a lizard inhabiting a wide range of cold environments in Patagonia, provides an excellent model to test interpopulation variability in thermal performance curves (TPCs) and usage of microhabitats. We obtained critical thermal minima and maxima, and performed running trials at eight temperatures using lizards from both a temperate-site (high-altitude) population at 42° S and a cold-site population at 50° S. The availability of environmental temperatures for running performance in open ground and in potential lizard refuges were recorded, and showed that lizards in the temperate site had a greater availability of thermal environments offering temperatures conducive to locomotion. Generalized additive mixed models showed that the two populations displayed TPCs of different shapes in 0.15 m runs at temperatures near their optimal temperature, indicating a difference in thermal sensitivity at high temperatures. However, the rest of the locomotor parameters remained similar between Liolaemus lineomaculatus from thermal and ecological extremes of their geographic distribution and this may partly explain their ability to endure a cold climate.