Climate Dependent Heating Efficiency in the Common Lizard

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© 2020 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Regulation of body temperature is crucial for optimizing physiological performance in ectotherms but imposes constraints in time and energy. Time and energy spent thermoregulating can be reduced through behavioral (e.g., basking adjustments) or biophysical (e.g., heating rate physiology) means. In a heterogeneous environment, we expect thermoregulation costs to vary according to local, climatic conditions and therefore to drive the evolution of both behavioral and biophysical thermoregulation. To date, there are limited data showing that thermal physiological adjustments have a direct relationship to climatic conditions. In this study, we explored the effect of environmental conditions on heating rates in the common lizard (Zootoca vivipara). We sampled lizards from 10 populations in the Massif Central Mountain range of France and measured whether differences in heating rates of individuals correlated with phenotypic traits (i.e., body condition and dorsal darkness) or abiotic factors (temperature and rainfall). Our results show that heat gain is faster for lizards with a higher body condition, but also for individuals from habitats with higher amount of precipitation. Altogether, they demonstrate that environmentally induced constraints can shape biophysical aspects of thermoregulation.