Predator presence and recent climatic warming raise body temperatures of
In ectothermic predator-prey relationships, the capacity for prey to
successfully evade predation will depend upon physiological and
behavioural responses that relate to both players’ thermal biology. On
the Izu Islands of Japan, we investigated how a prey lizard species has
responded physiologically and thermally to the presence of a snake
predator over evolutionary time in addition to recent climatic warming.
Foraging lizard body temperatures have increased by 1.0°C from 1981 to
2019 while lizard body temperatures were 3.4°C warmer on islands where
the snake predator is present relative to snake-free islands. We also
found that warmer prey body temperatures result in faster running speeds
of the prey at temperatures suboptimal for the snake predator. The
results show that lizard body temperatures have increased with warming
but not to the same extent as that exerted by predation pressure.
However, further warming could irrevocably alter this and other
ectothermic predator-prey relationships.