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Predator presence and recent climatic warming raise body temperatures of island lizards

Citation

Landry Yuan, Felix (2021), Predator presence and recent climatic warming raise body temperatures of island lizards, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.tx95x69wr

Abstract

In ectothermic predator-prey relationships, evasion of predation by prey depends on physiological and behavioural responses relating to the thermal biology of both predator and prey. On Japan’s Izu Islands, we investigated a prey lizard’s physiological and thermal responses to the presence of a snake predator over geologic time in addition to recent climatic warming. Foraging lizard body temperatures increased by 1.0°C from 1981 to 2019 overall, yet were 2.9°C warmer on snake islands relative to snake-free islands. We also detected snake predator-induced selection on hind leg length, which in turn is a major determinant for sprint speed only in lizard populations exposed to predation by snakes. Accordingly, we found that warmer prey body temperatures result in faster sprint speeds by the prey at temperatures suboptimal for the snake predator, and therefore contribute to escaping predation. Given recent climatic change, further warming could irrevocably alter this and other ectothermic predator-prey relationships.