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PeerJ. 2019 Aug 9;7:e7437. doi: 10.7717/peerj.7437. eCollection 2019.

Potential benefits from global warming to the thermal biology and locomotor performance of an endangered Patagonian lizard.

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Laboratorio de Ecofisiología e Historia de vida de Reptiles, Instituto de Investigaciones en Biodiversidad y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, CONICET, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina.
Contributed equally


Global warming can significantly affect many aspects of the biology of animal species, including their thermal physiology and physiological performance. Thermal performance curves provide a heuristic model to evaluate the impacts of temperature on the ecophysiology of ectotherms. When integrated with other thermal biology parameters, they can be used to predict the impacts of climate change on individual fitness and population viability. In this study, we combine holistic measures of thermal physiology and the thermal sensitivity of locomotor performance with environmental temperatures measured at fine scale to estimate the vulnerability to global warming of the endangered Patagonian lizard Phymaturus tenebrosus. Our results indicate that this lizard exhibits its preferred temperatures and maximum locomotor performance at higher temperatures than the mean temperature it currently experiences in its habitat. In addition, it exhibits a low effectiveness of thermoregulation, being a poor thermoregulator. In view of the results obtained, we suggest that the climatic conditions of Patagonia may be advantageous for P. tenebrosus to survive future global warming, since its thermal physiology and locomotor performance may improve under increasing in environmental temperatures in its habitat.


Climate change; Operative temperatures; Patagonia; Phymaturus; Preferred temperatures; Thermal performance curves; Thermoregulation; Vulnerability

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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