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Thread: New study: tegus are facultative endotherns

  1. #1
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    Default New study: tegus are facultative endotherns

    This is pretty cool, as far as I know this is the first time this is seen in squamates (or really in modern ectotherms). Tegus can produce and maintain body heat during their reproductive season, which increases their reproductive output.

    Link to the full paper:
    http://advances.sciencemag.org/conte.../e1500951.full

  2. #2
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    Thank you dpjm for sharing the info. I just read this article about the Tegu.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article...ource-at-will/
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  3. #3
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    That's the research of myself and my colleagues, it's taken us quite some time and a lot of effort to not only prove this phenomenon, but to convince the scientific community we weren't crazy. I had discovered this from my research into hibernation, but with the data I had we couldn't conclusively claim that the tegus were endogenously producing heat and that this wasn't an artifact of increased thermal retention or some other aspect that wasn't accounted for in my data. The best I had alone was when there were rainy days during the breeding season and the tegus hadn't left the burrows, they still showed a large temperature differential, and in a few cases actually seemed to increase their own heat, but without definitive tests to show exactly what was going on, we had to just sit on the data until further tests were done. Over the years as my colleagues had the opportunity, we conducted a bunch of further tests to definitively prove that what the tegus were doing was producing heat as opposed to increasing thermal retention and taking advantage of environmental insulation (they are doing all, so this would indicate that having a raised temperature at this time of year is quite important).

    If you can remember from way back then (2003-2004), and in later years, where I would have Bobby Hill berating me, particularly on thermal issues with tegus, and claiming I didn't know what I was talking about, I was just a stupid student......well, you can now see that although I may have seemed to be quite heated in our debates, I was actually showing a lot of restraint and still didn't let this fact slip out. I'm quite proud of the work my colleagues and I have done with this, and hope I can get back into researching it further.

  4. #4
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    Forgot to add: actually, dpjm, this has been shown in other squamates before, just not as profoundly. I think a previous study showed a 0.5-1.0 degree Celsius increase in body temperature over ambient temperature during breeding season in iquanas. Even in our study I would have to admit that the data wasn't always consistent. In my own initial study, with the tegus in outdoor enclosures replicating a semi-natural environment and having very little interaction with people, we could sometimes see in some of the tegus a differential of up to 12 degrees Celsius (this was a maximum, I would say a more typical differential observed would be 5-8 degrees). In our later studies, where my colleagues would take tegus from outdoors and bring them in to see if they maintained their temperature differentials under controlled conditions, they would show more in the range of 3-5 degrees. Personally, I can think of several reasons for why this discrepancy, some could be artifacts, some could be affects of our manipulations (or lack there of).

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