Thermal Relations of the Mallee dragon Amphibolurus fordi (Lacertilia: Agamidae)

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Abstract

A field study of the thermal relationships of the small agamid lizard A. fordi has been carried out in two areas of mallee in central western New South Wales, where this lizard occurs only in close association with the grass Triodia scariosa. The body temperatures characteristic of various phases in this lizard's diel cycle have been determined. The behavioural techniques employed to regulate temperature are described; they are similar to those used by a wide range of diurnal heliothermic lizards in other regions. The total effect of these thermoregulatory responses is to maintain an internal thermal environment approaching homoiothermy while the lizard is active. For A. fordi the eccritic body temperature determined from animals in the field is 36-9±0-16°C. Lowering of activity thermal levels occurs in winter, and can be induced at any time by even mild starvation. © Australian Journal of Zoology.

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