Assessing the reliability of thermography to infer internal body temperatures of lizards

Barroso, F. M., Carretero, M. A., Silva, F. and Sannolo, M. (2016) Assessing the reliability of thermography to infer internal body temperatures of lizards. Journal of Thermal Biology, 62(Pt. A), pp. 90-96. (doi:10.1016/j.jtherbio.2016.10.004) (PMID:27839556)

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For many years lizard thermal ecology studies have relied on the use of contact thermometry to obtain internal body temperature (Tb) of the animals. However, with progressing technology, an interest grew in using new, less invasive methods, such as InfraRed (IR) pyrometry and thermography, to infer Tb of reptiles. Nonetheless few studies have tested the reliability of these new tools. The present study tested the use of IR cameras as a non-invasive tool to infer Tb of lizards, using three differently body-sized lacertid species (Podarcis virescens, Lacerta schreiberi and Timon lepidus). Given the occurrence of regional heterothermy, we pairwise compared thermography readings of six body parts (snout, eye, head, dorsal, hind limb, tail base) to cloacal temperature (measured by a thermometer-associated thermocouple probe) commonly employed to measure Tb in field and lab studies. The results showed moderate to strong correlations (R2=0.84–0.99) between all body parts and cloacal temperature. However, despite the readings on the tail base showed the strongest correlation in all three species, it was the eye where the absolute values and pattern of temperature change most consistently followed the cloacal measurements. Hence, we concluded that the eye would be the body location whose IR camera readings more closely approximate that of the animal's internal environment. Alternatively, other body parts can be used, provided that a careful calibration is carried out. We provide guidelines for future research using thermography to infer Tb of lizards.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:UNSPECIFIED
Authors: Barroso, F. M., Carretero, M. A., Silva, F., and Sannolo, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Thermal Biology
ISSN (Online):1879-0992
Published Online:27 October 2016

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