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Water restriction induces behavioral fight but impairs thermoregulation in a dry‐skinned ectotherm

Abstract : Behavioral fight responses to desiccation risk are important to predict the vulnerability of terrestrial animals to climate change and yet, they have received little attention so far. In terrestrial ectotherms, behavioral regulation of the water balance (i.e., hydroregulation) is likely to be plastic and may trade-off with thermoregulation behavior because water loss rates are generally higher in warmer environments and body temperatures. When low water availability and heat stress cause physiological dehydration, we expect to highlight a shift to behavioral water-conservation strategies including changes in activity patterns, microhabitat selection and thermoregulation strategies. Here, we compared the behavior of adult common lizards (Zootoca vivipara) in indoor arenas that either had a permanent access to water or underwent a one-week long experimental water restriction. Water-restricted lizards reduced their behavioral activity, selected more often cooler and wetter refuges during daytime, and performed less accurate thermoregulation than control lizards. The activity of water-restricted gravid females shifted towards the cooler and wetter early hours of the day. In addition, they had lower body temperatures and preferred lower body temperatures at the end of the experiment (i.e., thermal depression). Water-restricted lizards suffered from a mild physiological dehydration, water-restricted females had lower mass change compared to control ones, and water-restricted males lost weight. Heat stress was simulated every second day, which led to a range of heat avoidance and water conservation strategies independent from water restriction. 5. Altogether, these results confirm that chronic water restriction and dehydration induce responses towards water conservation that conflict with thermoregulation accuracy.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02480596
Contributor : Jean-François Le Galliard Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 9:23:55 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 3:26:01 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, February 20, 2021 - 6:12:19 PM

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David Rozen-Rechels, Simon Agostini, Arnaud Badiane, Sandrine Meylan, Jean‐françois Le Galliard. Water restriction induces behavioral fight but impairs thermoregulation in a dry‐skinned ectotherm. Oikos, Nordic Ecological Society, 2020, 129 (4), pp.572-584. ⟨10.1111/oik.06910⟩. ⟨hal-02480596⟩

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