Lizard thermal trait variation at multiple scales: a review

Abstract

Thermal trait variation is of fundamental importance to forecasting the impacts of environmental change on lizard diversity. Here, we review the literature for patterns of variation in traits of upper and lower sub-lethal temperature limits, temperature preference and active body temperature in the field, in relation to space, time and phylogeny. Through time, we focus on the direction and magnitude of trait change within days, among seasons and as a consequence of acclimation. Across space, we examine altitudinal and latitudinal patterns, incorporating inter-specific analyses at regional and global scales. This synthesis highlights the consistency or lack thereof, of thermal trait responses, the relative magnitude of change among traits and several knowledge gaps identified in the relationships examined. We suggest that physiological information is becoming essential for forecasting environmental change sensitivity of lizards by providing estimates of plasticity and evolutionary scope.

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Acknowledgments

We thank John S. Terblanche and four anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the work. SCT was funded by the HOPE project grant from Stellenbosch University and by the National Research Foundation, South Africa.

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Communicated by I.D. Hume.

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Clusella-Trullas, S., Chown, S.L. Lizard thermal trait variation at multiple scales: a review. J Comp Physiol B 184, 5–21 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00360-013-0776-x

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Keywords

  • Critical thermal limits
  • Climate change
  • Diel cycles
  • Extremes
  • Macrophysiology
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Preferred body temperature
  • Rate of change