Sleep and wakefulness in the green iguanid lizard (Iguana iguana)

Abstract

The reptile Iguana iguana exhibits four states of vigilance: active wakefulness (AW), quiet wakefulness (QW), quiet sleep (QS) and active sleep (AS). Cerebral activity decreases in amplitude and frequency when passing from wakefulness to QS. Both parameters show a slight increase during AS. Heart rate is at a maximum during AW (43.8 ± 7.9 beats/min), decreases to a minimum in QS (25.3 ± 3.2 beats/min) and increases in AS (36.1 ± 5.7 beats/min). Tonical and phasical muscular activity is present in wakefulness, decreases or disappears in QS and reappears in AS. Single or conjugate ocular movements are observed during wakefulness, then disappear in QS and abruptly reappear in AS. Although these reptiles are polyphasic, their sleep shows a tendency to concentrate between 20:00 and 8:00 h. Quiet sleep occupies the greater percentage of the total sleep time. Active sleep episodes are of very short duration, showing an average of 21.5 ± 4.9 (mean ± SD). Compensatory increment of sleep following its total deprivation was significant only for QS. Reaction to stimuli decreased significantly when passing from wakefulness to sleep. It is suggested that the lizard I. iguana displays two sleep phases behaviorally and somatovegetatively similar to slow wave sleep and paradoxical sleep in birds and mammals.

PDF: Lizard sleep

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