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Effects of habitat perturbation on the daily activity pattern and physiological stress of the spiny tailed iguana (Ctenosaura acanthura)

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Habitat perturbation due to human activities may generate numerous behavioural and physiological alterations in wild animals. In consequence, some individuals become more susceptible to diseases, while others modify their foraging behaviour or present a diminished reproductive success. In this study, we compare the daily activity pattern (DAP) and the levels of faecal glucocorticoids (fCORT) of individuals of spiny tailed iguana (Ctenosaura acanthura) found in conserved habitats, with those found in areas perturbed by human activities. Our results indicate that none of the behaviours (basking, resting, feeding, locomotion, movement and aggression) presented significant differences between habitats. Furthermore, the concentrations of fCORT were similar among individuals from both sites. We suggest that the spiny tailed iguana is a species that has adapted to perturbed areas, where it has found enough resources to survive. Our findings imply that iguanas are less sensitive to habitat degradation; additionally, these results may serve as a basis for future research aiming to describe behavioural and physiological characteristics of reptile species living in perturbed habitats.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratorio de Biología de la Conducta, Instituto de Neuroetología, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz, México;, Email:; 2: Laboratorio de Biología de la Conducta, Instituto de Neuroetología, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz, México; 3: Departamento de Biología de la Reproducción, Instituto de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico, D.F.


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