Diel and seasonal variations in the thermal biology of San Cristobal Lava Lizards (Microlophus bivittatus)

John W. Rowe, David L. Clark, Chelsea E. Martin, Carlos Valle

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9 Scopus citations


Thermal biology, and therefore energy acquisition and survival, of ectotherms can be affected by diel and seasonal patterns of environmental temperatures. Galápagos Lava Lizards live in seasonal environments that are characterized by a warm and wet period when reproductive activity is maximal, and cooler and drier period. With the use of radiotelemetric techniques to record lizard surface temperatures (Ts), we studied the thermal ecology of the San Cristóbal Lava Lizard (Microlophus bivittatus) during both the warm and cool seasons over two years. During the diel activity period and when operative temperatures exceeded Tset-min, at least on rock faces without canopy, 52% or less of the Ts observations fell within the laboratory-determined Tset range (36–40 °C). Therefore, lizards may have avoided very warm midday temperatures in shaded microhabitats and the lag times in changes in Ts values occurred as operative temperatures rose rapidly during late morning warming phase. Lizards effectively thermoregulated during a year with moderate warm season temperatures and during a cool season that was unseasonably warm. In contrast, lizards less effectively thermoregulated during the warmest and coolest years of the study. We did not detect intersexual differences in thermoregulation although males may thermoregulate less effectively than do females during the cool season although we were unable to detect significant differences using our nonparametric statistical techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102518
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Galá
  • Microlophus
  • Pagos
  • Thermal biology


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