Abstract Species occurring in sympatry have to effectively segregate their niche in order to co-exist. In the case of ectotherms in particular, the very important parameter of thermal biology has to be taken into account. Here we investigated the thermoregulatory effectiveness (E) of two endemic Greek lizards (Hellenolacerta graeca and Podarcis peloponnesiacus) that live syntopically on a rocky cliff in the Peloponnese. We presumed that the two species would select different microhabitats, to avoid interspecific competition, and follow a similar thermoregulation pattern as they experience the same conditions. We also expected that E values for both species would differ depending on the season. Overall, we found that the two species had similar E values for each season but differentiated partial thermoregulatory attributes. Though they both occurred in the same types of microhabitat, H. graeca selected higher sites (average 99cm above ground) than P. peloponnesiacus (average 44cm). Also, the latter achieved higher preferred temperatures during summer and winter. Finally, the effectiveness of thermoregulation for both species varied interseasonally and received its highest values during summer, in response to the lowest thermal quality that was observed then. Similar studies stress the importance of thermal shifts for ectotherm co-existence.
In caudal autotomy, lizards shed their tail to escape from an attacking predator. Since the tail serves multiple functions, caudal regeneration is of pivotal importance. However, it is a demanding procedure that requires substantial energy and nutrients. Therefore, lizards have to increase energy income to fuel the extraordinary requirements of the regenerating tail. We presumed that autotomized lizards would adjust their digestion to acquire this additional energy. To clarify the effects of tail regeneration on digestion, we compared the digestive performance before autotomy, during regeneration, and after its completion. Tail regeneration indeed increased gut passage time but did not affect digestive performance in a uniform pattern: though protein income was maximized, lipid and sugar acquisition remained stable. This divergence in proteins may be attributed to their particular role in tail reconstruction, as they are the main building blocks for tissue formation.
The ability for effective, accurate and precise thermoregulation is of paramount importance for ectotherms. Sympatric lizards often partition their niche and select different microhabitats. These microhabitats, however, usually differ in their thermal conditions and lizards have to adapt their thermoregulation behavior accordingly. Here, we evaluated the impact of habitat partitioning on the thermal biology of three syntopic, congeneric lacertids (Podarcis peloponnesiacus, P. tauricus and P. muralis) from central Peloponnese, Greece. We assessed thermoregulation effectiveness (E) using the three standard thermal parameters: body (Tb), operative (Te) and preferred (Tpref) temperatures. We hypothesized that the microhabitats used by each species would differ in thermal quality. We also predicted that all species would effectively thermoregulate, as they inhabit a thermally challenging mountain habitat. As expected, the partition of the habitat had an effect on the thermoregulation of lizards since microhabitats had different thermal qualities. All three species were effective and accurate thermoregulators but one of them achieved smaller E values as a result of the lower Tb in the field. This discrepancy could be attributed to the cooler (but more benign) thermal microhabitats that this species occupies.
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