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Zoologia (Curitiba)

Print version ISSN 1984-4670On-line version ISSN 1984-4689


MAIA-CARNEIRO, Thiago; WINCK, Gisele R.; PEREIRA, Mariana Rodrigues  and  ROCHA, Carlos Frederico Duarte. Body orientation for thermoregulation and daily activity cycle of Mabuya macrorhyncha (Squamata: Scincidae). Zoologia (Curitiba) [online]. 2018, vol.35, e24575.  Epub Apr 26, 2018. ISSN 1984-4670.

We investigated the daily activity and thermoregulatory body orientation of Mabuya macrorhyncha (Hoge, 1947), a lizard species that occurs in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. We conducted this investigation in a sandy coastal dune remnant (“restinga” ecosystem) in Grussaí, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the summer. The daily activity cycle of the lizards started around 6:00 am and ended before 7:00 pm. This is longer than observed in other populations of M. macrorhyncha (approximately 7:00 am to 5:00 pm). The activity cycle of the lizards was bimodal, with the first peak between 6:00 and 11:00 am and the second from 2:00 to 7:00 pm. This contrasts with observations on other populations of this species, which revealed an unimodal pattern. The mean body temperature of M. macrorhyncha in Grussaí was 34.2 ± 1.5 °C, which was comparatively higher than observed in other populations of the species. The differences in the daily activity and of body temperature of these lizards between our study and previous studies on this species may reflect environmental thermal conditions. The mean air and mean substrate temperatures when individuals were active were 27.8 and 30.5 °C respectively. Lizard orientation was significantly correlated with the direction of the solar incidence, suggesting that solar radiation, and particularly behavioral adjustments that maximize exposure to the sun, are important for the thermoregulation of M. macrorhyncha. Circular structures at the site, such as bromeliads, offer microhabitats with different orientations to the sunlight, favoring lizard thermoregulatory behaviors.

Keywords : Activity period; body temperature regulation; microhabitat; thermoregulatory behavior.

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