Amphibiansreptilesultraviolet light [2·Ferguson Zone 1]

Release time:2023-11-12
In summary, most of the species contained in Ferguson Zone 1 and Ferguson 1-2 Transition Zone are nocturnal and diurnal amphibians and reptiles. They may have been exposed to UV rays for very short periods of time, or they may have been exposed to UV rays in areas with low UV rays. Among them, common species include leopard geckos, ciliary geckos, ocelot geckos, red-eyed eagle lizards, corn snakes, fire salamanders, horned frogs, etc.

The average UVI value they require is between 0-0.7, and the corresponding UVB value of artificial lamps is about 0-18 μW/cm²; the UVI at the sun point can reach up to 0.6-1.4. Approximately equivalent to UVB of artificial lamps 15-40 μW/cm². (The above UVB reference values only apply to artificial light)


But in the past, it was generally thought that these species did not need ultraviolet light - because they seemed to avoid the sun, thus avoiding human observation. Therefore, they are presumed to obtain adequate vitamin D3 from diet alone.
Although carnivores may obtain sufficient vitamin D3 from prey, insectivores are unlikely to have large amounts of the vitamin in their natural diet, so it is difficult for insectivorous diurnal/nocturnal animals to obtain D3 purely from food. Just do some elimination and you will know that sun exposure will be the most likely main source of D3.
In fact, there were reports more than 60 years ago that so-called "nocturnal reptiles" had more or less exposure to sunlight. They either occasionally appeared during the day or were accidentally exposed to sunlight in their sleeping places. For example, the wart-tailed lizard tiger (Hemidactylus frenatus) and the Mediterranean scorpion tiger (H. turcicus) are often exposed to sunlight at dusk and dawn; while the crocodile gecko (Tarentola mauretanica) is often spotted basking in the sun during the day; another example is the black rat snake (Pantherophis) obsoletus) also change their diurnal activity patterns in response to ambient temperature, increasing diurnal activity during the cooler months.


Therefore, without 24-hour field observation and research as evidence, we cannot casually conclude that nocturnal species are completely inaccessible to sunlight (except strictly cave species)
Based on these observations, some have speculated that diurnal animals may synthesize vitamin D3 by exposure to sunlight at dusk and dawn. However, when the sun is near the horizon, the atmosphere filters out nearly all of the UVB wavelengths needed for vitamin D3 synthesis. To benefit from this low level of UV rays, the skin's UV transmittance must be very high. For example, some "nocturnal" geckos belong to this type:
Further research found that UVB can penetrate the skin of Coleonyx variegatus and reach a skin depth of 1.2 to 1.9 mm, which is in sharp contrast to diurnal species such as the desert-living Utah lizard (Uta stansburiana). The degree of skin transmission of the latter is limited to between 0.3 and 0.9 mm
In the same study, Porter found that the light transmittance of the skin of seven snake species correlated with their behavior: the highest UV transmittance was seen in species that were exclusively nocturnal, while the skin of diurnal species had the lowest UV transmittance. rate, and the twilight type snake is somewhere in between. This suggests that nocturnal animals can synthesize sufficient vitamin D3 from low levels of UV-B.


Carman et al. demonstrated that the skin synthesis efficiency of vitamin D3 in the nocturnal house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) is eight times higher than that of the diurnal desert lizard, the Texas spiny lizard (Sceloporus olivaceous), which shows that they are responsible for Special adaptations to the environment: Nocturnal and diurnal types either take full advantage of the lower levels of available UV in their microhabitat, or are briefly exposed to sudden high levels of UV in their shelter during the day.

Another case is the leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) that you and I are familiar with. In the study, they synthesized vitamin D3 as long as they were exposed to low levels of UVB; the leopard geckos exposed to UVB had calcidiol in their bodies. (25-hydroxyvitamin D3) concentration was 3.2 times higher than that of the control group who only supplemented D3 through diet. This has also been demonstrated in diurnal snakes such as the corn snake (Elaphe guttata), which begin to synthesize vitamin D3 in their skin when exposed to low levels of UVB from fluorescent lights.
When the strong UVB at noon is blocked and filtered to the places where nocturnal animals sleep during the day, it may be enough for their skin to fully synthesize D3. To our knowledge, there are no published field studies documenting ambient UVB intensity where nocturnal animals sleep during the day. However, when the leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sp.) in Madagascar slept against a tree trunk during the day, the meter next to it showed a UVI value between 0.1-1.2.
Some nocturnal species may have very low requirements for vitamin D3; for example, allowing vitamin D-deficient leopard geckos to passively obtain calcium from food may also be effective in preventing metabolic bone disease. This also verifies past experience in captivity, that is, leopard geckos can only rely on oral vitamin D3, but other diurnal lizards cannot. This is because leopard geckos have a low demand for vitamin D3 and can easily meet it through food. However, because the autocrine and paracrine functions of vitamin D3 are independent of calcium metabolic processes, more studies are needed to evaluate the full effects of vitamin D deficiency in animals.
In summary, some nocturnal animals apparently have the ability to synthesize vitamin D3 in their skin whenever they are exposed to sunlight. Therefore, there seems to be no reason not to provide full-spectrum lighting for nocturnal and diurnal species (Ferguson Zone 1), as long as they have adequate shelter to spend the day and are exposed to UVB bands suitable for them.
The above is the theoretical basis for delineating Ferguson Zone 1 species. Next, we will list common Zone 1 species for your reference.


2. Species List of Ferguson Zone 1
Alpine horned lizard, cross-collared lizard, Jamaican anole lizard, dead leaf chameleon, sand fish lizard, red-eyed hawk lizard, horned gecko, leopard gecko, ocelot gecko, large gecko, cave tiger, mourning scale gecko , velvet gecko, fan-toed tiger, viper gecko, white-spot gecko, leaf-tailed gecko...


Yellow-fronted turtles, maple leaf turtles, sun turtles, lotus leaf turtles... ...


Child python, Sri Lankan star python, Woma python, emerald tree boa, Amazon tree boa, Cuban rainbow boa, green water boa (doubtful), yellow water boa, Falkland tree boa, blood python, Burmese python, reticulated python, Pabbu Milk snake, Sina milk snake, Stewart milk snake, amethyst python, green tree snake, rough-scaled green tree snake, flower snake...



Red-eyed tree frog, lemur tree frog, midwife toad, Oriental bombe toad, yellow-bellied bombing toad, horned frog, marginal leaf frog, American green tree frog, black-orbited toad, tomato frog, spotless tree frog, African reed frog, sand toad , frog frog, clown frog, white-lipped tree frog, Rana genus, poison dart frog, dead leaf frog, Moss frog...


Ambystoma Mexicana (Hexaceratops), tiger salamander, oriental salamander, alpine salamander, southern crested salamander, Hispanic costal salamander, fire salamander, textured European salamander, spotted mud salamander, imperial star salamander, red Scrofula...


Because the Ferguson District is a huge system and there is a great need for on-the-ground data on the origin. Therefore, the species included in this system are still not comprehensive enough. The species currently surveyed are still based on taxa that are often kept in captivity, so not many native species in my country are on the list. This may be a direction that our herpetologists can research in the future.
Albino animals require more cover and less time under lights. If possible, take vitamin D3 orally

3. Arrangement plan of captive lighting fixtures
Species in Ferguson Zone 1 have low UV requirements, and many species can even rely entirely on oral intake of vitamin D. However, various studies have shown that oral vitamin D is effective, but it is not as effective as providing ultraviolet light. Therefore, we recommend that animals should be provided with low-level, short-duration UV exposure where possible.
Theoretically, both high-radiation and low-radiation ultraviolet rays can provide adjustment distance and usage time to reduce ultraviolet levels: for example, UVB 10.0 26W at a distance of 40cm may provide a similar amount of UVB radiation to UVB 5.0 13W at 20cm; or high Radiation lamps may degrade into low-radiation lamps after being used for more than thousands of hours. If you are raising both Zone 3 and Zone 1 species in Ferguson, then the lamps used by the Zone 3 species may be sufficient for the Zone 1 species. However, in these two cases, a UVI/UVB tester is required to adjust the distance of use, and zone 3 species are required to "play the vanguard".
If you do not meet these conditions, a more direct configuration solution will be recommended below.

4. Reference for matching lamps
T5 UVB lamp/UVB energy-saving lamp: UVB content 2.0-5.0; if the cabinet height is less than 40cm, choose 8-13W, if the cabinet height is more than 40cm, choose 26W+
Other optional lamps: UVA lamp (heating/coloring + lighting), LED lighting. Specific wattage depends on ambient altitude and species heat requirements
Generally speaking, halogen lamps and UVA lamps below 30W can be used for cold-loving species and tanks within 30cm;
For warm-loving species with tanks above 30cm, 50-100W UVA lamps can be used;
With its excellent power consumption control, LED can illuminate most breeding environments with 8-15W. But for diurnal species, it needs to be used with UVA lamps

Long box lighting layout reference drawing
Lamps: UVB T5 lamps/UVB energy-saving lamps (2.0-5.0 wattage selected according to actual height), natural light (optimal), UVA (optional), LED (optional)
Heating: heating pad (local only), ceramic heating lamp (protective measures required), infrared heating lamp (protective measures required)


High box lighting layout reference drawing
Lamps: UVB energy-saving lamps (2.0-5.0 wattage selected according to actual height), natural light (optimal), UVA (optional), LED (optional)
Heating: heating pad (local only), ceramic heating lamp (protective measures required), infrared heating lamp (protective measures required)


1. Since the species in Ferguson Zone 1 are exposed to ultraviolet light for a short time, UVB lamps can only be turned on for 1-2 hours in the early morning and evening every day.
2. UVA lamp can be turned on for a long time as daytime lighting and heating. However, if natural light can be introduced into the tank, UVA lights do not need to be used.
3. The purpose of heating equipment is to ensure the basic temperature for the normal life of animals. If the day and night temperature of a species is 22-32°C, then the heating equipment only needs to allow the ambient temperature to reach 22-25°C. High temperatures of 28-32°C should be achieved during the day by natural light/UVA lamps/sunlights. This can create a reasonable temperature difference between day and night
4. If you are raising woodland Ferguson zone 1 species in high boxes, you need to provide higher wattage lamps to provide longer radiation distance. And need to be equipped with a shield to weaken the ultraviolet rays
5. The "optional" lamps mentioned above need to be matched according to the types of animals and plants raised.
6. Any UVB lamp at a very close distance will emit UVB that far exceeds the needs of animals, which will cause hidden dangers to health. Do not place the lamp head within 10cm of the animal.
7. Due to the characteristics of species in Zone 1, a sufficiently large shade area needs to be arranged in the environment according to the needs of the species. The picture above is only a reference for lighting fixture arrangement.


——"The closer the UVB lamp is to the animal, the better"
It's not safe
Any UVB lamp will emit UVB far beyond the needs of animals at a very close distance. Especially the amount of UVB radiation within 10cm will be very high, which will greatly increase the risk of eye lesions and skin cancer. Therefore, the safe use distance of ultraviolet lamps is above 20cm. The metal mesh top cover will weaken 20-40% of ultraviolet radiation. If a UVB tester is available, the safety distance can be shortened as appropriate.

——"The best distance for using UVB lamp is 20-30cm"
The safe distance of UV lamps is more than 20cm. It does not have to be used at around 20cm.
A higher environment can reserve a transition area for animals from high ultraviolet rays to no ultraviolet rays, allowing them to choose the area that suits them best.
Because regardless of the species in the Ferguson area, their needs for ultraviolet light are dynamically changing. Even zone 4 species often have to hide in zone 1, or even cold zones without ultraviolet rays. And 20cm is only a safe distance, and space must be reserved for animals to hide. Therefore, the higher the UV demand and the larger the animal, the higher the height of the terrestrial tank should be. And equipped with a high enough basking point for it to climb. If the radiation level is too low after increasing the distance, please increase the wattage of the lamp appropriately.


In the next issue, we will introduce the lighting arrangement plan for species in Ferguson Zone 2. It will include many species you are familiar with: green double-crested, Fiji iguana, Peruvian crocodile lizard, ball python, red-tailed anaconda, wax-throated tree frog, giant gecko, etc... ...Remember to like, forward, and follow oh!