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Thermal variability in body temperature in an ectotherm Are cloacal temperatures good indicators of tortoise body temperature?

, : Thermal variability in body temperature in an ectotherm Are cloacal temperatures good indicators of tortoise body temperature?. Journal of Thermal Biology

Historically, studies of reptilian thermal biology have compared ambient temperatures (T a ) to body temperatures (T b ) from the animal under study, with T b usually taken from the cloaca and various instruments being used to measure T b . The advent of surgically implanted miniature temperature loggers has offered the opportunity to test the efficacy of cloacal T b as a measurement in thermoregulatory studies. We expected that there was a difference between skin, cloacal, and core T b s. Temperatures were measured from various positions on leopard tortoises (Stigmochelys pardalis) using thermocouples and miniature temperature loggers, including surgically implanted temperature loggers. Measurements of temperature from various positions on and in the tortoise were significantly different from T a . Cloacal T b s were significantly lower than all other body temperatures measured, and core Tb s were significantly different from cloacal Tb, skin and carapace temperatures. In addition, significant differences were found between measures of temperature from other parts of the body. The variations between core T b , cloacal T b and other measures of T b indicated that there are large thermal gradients within the body of a relatively large tortoise at any given time with cloacal T b not an accurate measure of core T b . Reptilian thermal biology studies regularly investigate body temperatures (T b ). We tested the efficacy of cloacal T b compared with core T b in Stigmochelys pardalis. Cloacal T b s were lower than all other body temperatures measured. Cloacal T b may not be an accurate measure of core T b .


DOI: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2013.02.002

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