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Observations on the Thermal Relations of Western Australian Lizards
Paul Light, William R. Dawson, Vaughan H. Shoemaker and A. R. Main
Vol. 1966, No. 1 (Mar. 22, 1966), pp. 97-110
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1440766
Page Count: 14
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Preferred body temperatures of lizards (herein defined as temperatures selected in laboratory thermal gradients) and those maintained by these animals during activity in nature were measured in a variety of Australian species. Pronounced interspecific differences in preferred temperatures were evident. Mean preferred temperatures (MPT's) of all agamids (35.7-38.2° C) were significantly higher than those of all skinks (26.7-34.7° C). The geckos studied fell into two groups. The MPT's for representatives of several genera were lower than those of most skinks, whereas geckos of other genera preferred temperatures intermediate to those of skinks and agamids. Some differences in MPT's of congeneric species were evident within the agamid genus Amphibolurus. Interspecific differences were also evident in the mean body temperatures at which these Australian lizards were active in nature, but field values did not correspond to the respective MPT's in every case. Discrepancies varied from a few degrees in diurnal species to 5-20° C in the nocturnal geckos. The preferred body temperatures of the lizards do not correspond to the geographic (macroclimatic) distribution of the species, but interspecific variations in the body temperatures of lizards in the field may be influenced by climatic conditions. Data suggest that the field temperatures indicate the range of body temperature acceptable for activity rather than the inherent preferred range.