The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 06. Is ecophysiology congruent with the present-day relictual distribution of a lizard group? Evidence from preferred temperatures and water loss rates

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pp. 47-56

Authors: Diana Carneiro, Enrique García-Muñoz, Anamarija Žagar, Panayotis Pafilis & Miguel A. Carretero 

Abstract:  We assessed whether ecophysiological requirements are consistent with the environmental traits within the current ranges in a relictual lizard group, Algyroides, composed of four species with restricted and disjunctive distributions. We considered temperature, precipitation and their seasonal profiles, and focused on the preferred body temperature (Tp) and the evaporative water loss (EWL). The ranges of all four species differed in environmental traits. The two geographically more restricted species followed divergent patterns: A. moreoticus inhabits hot and climatically buffered areas, and A. marchi occupies cold seasonal environments. Tp and EWL also differed among species following a geographical grouping: A. nigropunctatus (Slovenia) and A. fitzingeri (Sardinia) selected for lower Tp and lost less water than the southern species A. moreoticus (Peloponnese) and A. marchi (Southern Spain). Tp and EWL were correlated at species level but not at individual level within species. Results suggest that the current distribution of Algyroides species partly reflects their ecophysiology, with water ecology taking precedence over thermal ecology as constraining factor. By unravelling the environmental factors limiting the distribution of species, ecophysiology may provide directions for conservation, predicting the degree of vulnerability to climate change.

Key words: Algyroides, biogeography, Lacertidae, thermal preference, water loss

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