Back to resources

Look carefully at how lizards control their body temperature using behavioural adaptations. On the exam you will may be required to apply your knowledge to new situations. Insects are also ectotherms, try this comprehension exercise on how the 'magnetic' termites of northern Australia control the temperature of their mounds.

Click on the picture to start the test.


Ectotherms and Endotherms

Animals which have no metabolic method of regulating their body temperature are known as ectotherms. For strict ectotherms this graph applies. Some reptiles have a degree of physiological regulation. How can ectotherms regulate there body temperature if not by an internal metabolic means?
Endotherms require less energy to maintain their body temperature as the temperature of their surroundings increases.
The main methods of heat gains in lizards..
.....and heat losses

Ectotherms use behaviour to control their body temperature by altering the amount of heat they are gaining or losing by convection, conduction and radiation.

This Australian water monitor is orientating it's body to get as much radiation from the sun as possible. It has just come out of the water and needs to warm up. Lizards use behaviour like this to warm up their bodies, or cool them down.