We studied aspects of the thermal biology and microhabitat selection of the endangered lizard Podarcis hispanica atrata during autumn in the field and laboratory. Body temperatures (T b ) of active lizards were within a narrow range, were largely independent of ambient temperatures, and exhibited little diel variation. Activity T b s largely coincided with the selected temperatures maintained in a laboratory thermogradient and with T b s that maximize running performance. Alternation of basking with other activities and shuttling between sun and shade were obvious aspects of thermoregulatory behaviour. Lizards shifted microhabitat use throughout the day. During early morning and late afternoon, basking lizards were restricted to rocky sites surrounded by shrubs. Near midday lizards used a wider array of microhabitats, and many moved in open grassy sites. Juveniles maintained lower activity T b s, had lower selected temperatures, and basked less frequently than the adults. Juveniles occupied open grassy patches more often than the adults. We discuss the relevance of our results for the conservation of this extremely rare lizard and the management of its habitats.
- Species and biotopes
EWI Biomedical sciences