Thermal biology of four Israeli agamid lizards in early summer

Paul E. Hertz, Eviatar Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The agamid lizard genera Agama and Stellio differ in thermal biology during early summer in Israel. Species of Agama (A. pallida, A. savignii, and A. sinaita) are small, live in hot desert habitats, and frequently use thermoregulatory behaviors that foster convective cooling. Individuals in local populations maintain body temperatures within a narrow range (within and among species), and body temperatures are only slightly higher than air and substrate temperatures. In contrast, Stellio stellio is of moderately large size, occupies cooler habitats, and frequently uses behaviors which tend to increase rates of heat gain. Body temperatures for Stellio are lower than those of Agama, but are more elevated above environmental temperatures. In two Stellio populations at high altitudes, body temperatures were extremely variable. In the laboratory, A. savignii was more tolerant of high temperatures than any of four populations of Stellio, but tolerance of low temperatures did not vary among any of these five populations. Differences in thermal biology between the two genera may influence their geographical distribution in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-210
Number of pages21
JournalIsrael Journal of Zoology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1981

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Field work for this study was funded by the Dorothy Spivack and Edward King funds of Barnard College, the National Science Foundation (DEB 78-12024 to R.B. Huey and P.E.H.), and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation {BSF), Jerusalem, Israel (to E.N.). The senior author offers special thanks to Diane Adler for companionship, kindness, and hospitality; to Andrew Liner for his hospitality at Midreshet Sede Boqer; and to David Ifrah for his invaluable assistance in the field. We also thank J .H. Hoofien, R.B. Huey, H. Mendelssohn, and S.M. Moody for advice and comments on a previous draft of the manuscript.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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