The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 06. Resource partitioning of sympatric Norops (Beta Anolis) in a subtropical mainland community

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pp. 273-280
Authors: D'Cruze, Neil C. & Stafford, Peter J.

Abstract: During an approximately four-week period the ecology and interrelationships of sympatric anoles (Norops spp., Beta Anolis) was studied at a lowland forest site in Belize. The primary aim was to investigate aspects of niche overlap and resource partitioning among species in a typical mainland forest community by quantifying the dimensions of morphology, structural habitat and microclimate. Through characterization of each ecological niche we aimed to determine how these lizards partition the complex resource base and habitat in which they co-exist. Anole species at the study site clearly appear to partition environmental resources along the three major resource axes of microclimate, habitat structure, and probably also prey size, as originally defined by Pianka (1974). Two of the species also show evidence of sexual size dimorphism, indicating that the 'total' niche of these species is further divided into two 'sub-niches' corresponding to each sex. Further experimental manipulations are required, however to demonstrate conclusively whether interspecific competition alone is responsible for structural patterns within anole communities such as this, and also to define the function of differential susceptibility among species to parasites. In the case of three species, a positive correlation between the number of lamellae on the fourth toe of the hind foot and perch height was observed, supporting the notion that lamella number is highly adaptive for an arboreal lifestyle and related to habitat use.

Keywords: SEXUAL DIMORPHISM, ECOLOGICAL NICHE, LIZARD, TOE-PAD MORPHOLOGY

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