CZAAWE Resource Article

Ultraviolet light and heat source selection in captive spiny-tailed iguanas (Oplurus cuvieri)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2361(1997)16:5<391::AID-ZOO2>3.3.CO;2-G Three experimental manipulations were conducted to assess the influence of heat source selection and active thermoregulation on ultraviolet (UV) light exposure in captive spiny-tailed iguanas (Oplurus cuvieri) at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. Four replicates per manipulation were conducted on six individual lizards. All animals were tested in a separate enclosure to which they were acclimated before observations. Data on choice of thermal sources were collected during the first 2 hr of light, when lizards were actively thermoregulating. Animals were allowed to choose between incandescent light, UV light and a non-light heat source (thermotube) in different combinations. Recorded temperatures close to the incandescent light (37°C) were always significantly higher than at the thermotube (33°C) and at the UV light (29°C). Manipulation 1 offered the animals a choice of an UV light and an incandescent light as thermal sources. Manipulation 2 presented animals with the thermal choices in Manipulation 1, but substrates under each source in Manipulation 1 were switched. In Manipulation 3, animals could choose between an incandescent light and the thermotube. All studied lizards were significantly more attracted to the incandescent light than to the UV light or thermotube. Incandescent light elicited a significantly higher proportion of basking behaviors in all individuals than the other sources. A high proportion of time basking was also spent in front of the thermotube but fewer individuals and less time were spent basking under the UV light. Heat source selection was generally found to be independent of substrate. Management applications of this preference are suggested for juvenile diurnal heliothermic iguanids. Zoo Biol 16:391–401, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.