Temperature preference during forelimb regeneration in the red-spotted newt Notophthalmus viridescens

J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet Physiol. 2012 Apr;317(4):248-58. doi: 10.1002/jez.1719.


Red-spotted newts (Notophthalmus viridescens) are model organisms for regenerative research. These animals can regenerate limbs, tails, jaws, spinal cords, as well as the lens of the eye. Newts are small ectotherms that are aquatic as adults; as ectotherms, they naturally conform to the temperature of their surroundings. Environmental temperatures, however, can increase or decrease the red-spotted newt's metabolic processes, including their rate of tissue regeneration; whether an optimal temperature for this rate of regeneration exists is unknown. However, newts do exhibit behavioral preferences for certain temperatures, and these thermal preferences can change with season or with acclimation. Given this flexibility in behavioral thermoregulation, we hypothesized that the process of tissue regeneration could also affect thermal preference, given the metabolic costs or altered temperature sensitivities of tissue regrowth. It was predicted that regenerating newts would select an environmental temperature that maximized the rate of regeneration, however, this prediction was not fully supported. Thermal preference trials revealed that newts consistently selected temperatures between 24 and 25°C throughout regeneration. This temperature selection was warmer than that of uninjured conspecifics, but was lower than temperatures that would have further augmented the rate of regeneration. Interestingly, regenerating newts maintained a more stable temperature preference than sham newts, suggesting that accuracy in thermoregulation may be more important to regenerating individuals, than to noninjured individuals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Forelimb / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Notophthalmus viridescens / physiology*
  • Regeneration / physiology*