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 05. Effects of body temperature on the predatory behaviour of the lizard Psammodromus algirus hunting winged and wingless prey

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Open Access

pp.145-150

Authors: José A. Díaz

Abstract: The thermal dependence of predation success in the Mediterranean lacertid lizard Psammodromus algirus was studied using two types of prey (winged and wingless flies) that differed in their ability to escape predation at all Tbs (body temperatures) tested (25-27°C, 29- 32°C, and 34-37°C). Both number of failures and handling time decreased significantly at higher Tbs, and capture success was much higher for wingless flies; in fact, low Tbs were associated with a significant increase in capture success only in the case of winged flies. At low Tbs, winged flies could be efficiently seized by lizards only if pursued from a short distance. The attack distance was therefore larger for the less mobile (and less detectable) wingless flies at low Tbs, which suggests a trade-off between attack distance and capture success under conditions of impaired locomotor performance. Results of this study show that the escape abilities of prey are crucial to evaluate the effects of temperature on the performance of reptiles as predators.

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