Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 261–267 | Cite as

The role of thermoregulation in lizard biology: Predatory efficiency in a temperate diurnal basker

  • R. A. Avery
  • J. D. Bedford
  • C. P. Newcombe


Decreasing levels of simulated solar radiation have the following effects in the diurnal basking lizard Lacerta vivipara: (i) increase in time spent basking with a consequent decrease in time available for foraging (ii) decrease in speed of movement whilst foraging (iii) decrease in total foraging distance, and hence contact with potential prey (iv) decrease in searching efficiency in an experimental arena. Complete absence of simulated solar radiation accentuates these effects, and reduces the proportion of faster-moving prey in the diet. Time taken to swallow prey (handling time) increases exponentially with decreasing body temperature. It is concluded from these results that maintaining relatively high activity temperatures (30–36°C) is adaptive for the species because the loss of potential foraging time caused by lengthy periods of basking is offset by the following advantages: increased contact with and capture of prey, increased efficiency of prey handling, and availability of a wider range of prey types.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Avery
    • 1
  • J. D. Bedford
    • 1
  • C. P. Newcombe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyThe UniversityBristolEngland

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