Vulnerability to climate change of a microendemic lizard species from the central Andes

A. Laspiur, J. C. Santos, S. M. Medina, J. E. Pizarro, E. A. Sanabria, B. Sinervo, N. R. Ibargüengoytía
2021 Scientific Reports  
AbstractGiven the rapid loss of biodiversity as consequence of climate change, greater knowledge of ecophysiological and natural history traits are crucial to determine which environmental factors induce stress and drive the decline of threatened species. Liolaemus montanezi (Liolaemidae), a xeric-adapted lizard occurring only in a small geographic range in west-central Argentina, constitutes an excellent model for studies on the threats of climate change on such microendemic species. We
more » ... e field data on activity patterns, use of microhabitat, behavioral thermoregulation, and physiology to produce species distribution models (SDMs) based on climate and ecophysiological data. Liolaemus montanezi inhabits a thermally harsh environment which remarkably impacts their activity and thermoregulation. The species shows a daily bimodal pattern of activity and mostly occupies shaded microenvironments. Although the individuals thermoregulate at body temperatures below their thermal preference they avoid high-temperature microenvironments probably to avoid overheating. The population currently persists because of the important role of the habitat physiognomy and not because of niche tracking, seemingly prevented by major rivers that form boundaries of their geographic range. We found evidence of habitat opportunities in the current range and adjacent areas that will likely remain suitable to the year 2070, reinforcing the relevance of the river floodplain for the species' avoidance of extinction.
doi:10.1038/s41598-021-91058-w pmid:34079000 fatcat:iddgckt4lndwjcx77rtyodq4am