Are all islands the same? A comparative thermoregulatory approach in four insular populations
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As ectotherms, lizards, among the best models in thermal studies, are influenced by many abiotic factors. Interestingly, there is a scarcity of data regarding the impact that insularity may have on thermoregulation. Islands, depending their size and altitude, may differ considerably in the thermal conditions they provide to lizards. Here, we focused on a study system comprising islands that differ in morphological characteristics. We worked with four Rock Agama (Laudakia sp.) insular populations, namely Cyprus, Naxos, Delos, and Corfu. We measured body, operative and preferred temperatures and evaluated thermoregulation effectiveness (E). According to our findings, E differed among populations: Corfu received the lowest E (0.45), Cyprus and Naxos achieved median values (0.66 and 0.67, respectively) and lizards from Delos had the most effective thermoregulation (0.85). Our results underline the complex nature of insularity and its effect on saurian thermoregulation and highlight the importance of studying each insular population separately, taking into account the variable features of islands.