Short-term changes in air humidity and water availability weakly constrain thermoregulation in a dry-skinned ectotherm

Type Article
Date 2021-02
Language English
Author(s) Le Galliard Jean-FrancoisORCID1, 2, Rozen-Rechels David1, Lecomte Anjelica1, Demay Clemence1, Dupoue AndreazORCID1, Meylan Sandrine1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Sorbonne Univ, Inst Ecol & Sci Environm, iEES Paris, INRA,IRD,CNRS,UMR 7618, Paris, France.
2 : PSL Res Univ, Dept Biol, Ecole Normale Super, CNRS,UMS 3194,Ctr Rech Ecol Expt & Predict CEREE, St Pierre Les Nemours, France.
Source Plos One (1932-6203) (Public Library Science), 2021-02 , Vol. 16 , N. 2 , P. e0247514 (17p.)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0247514
WOS© Times Cited 5

Thermoregulation is critical for ectotherms as it allows them to maintain their body temperature close to an optimum for ecological performance. Thermoregulation includes a range of behaviors that aim at regulating body temperature within a range centered around the thermal preference. Thermal preference is typically measured in a thermal gradient in fully-hydrated and post-absorptive animals. Short-term effects of the hydric environment on thermal preferences in such set-ups have been rarely quantified in dry-skinned ectotherms, despite accumulating evidence that dehydration might trade-off with behavioral thermoregulation. Using experiments performed under controlled conditions in climatic chambers, we demonstrate that thermal preferences of a ground-dwelling, actively foraging lizard (Zootoca vivipara) are weakly decreased by a daily restriction in free-standing water availability (less than 0.5 degrees C contrast). The influence of air humidity during the day on thermal preferences depends on time of the day and sex of the lizard, and is generally weaker than those of of free-standing water (less than 1 degrees C contrast). This shows that short-term dehydration can influence, albeit weakly, thermal preferences under some circumstances in this species. Environmental humidity conditions are important methodological factors to consider in the analysis of thermal preferences.

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