August 18, 2015
A team of biologists led by ASU researchers has discovered that - when subjected to a temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit, even for a few minutes - lizard embryos die. In addition, the researchers learned that previous studies on lizard resilience to warming temperatures ignored early life stages like the embryonic, producing overly optimistic forecasts.
Even if a lizard survives the embryonic stage, repeated exposure to above-average but not lethal temperatures can negatively affect a lizard’s physiology and behavior. Given this information, many more places in the United States could become uninhabitable for lizards than previously expected - an occurrence with far-reaching consequences.
Sustainability scientist Michael Angilletta says, “Because lizards are prey for animals such as birds, snakes and mammals, the harmful effects of climate change on embryonic lizards could also negatively affect other species.”