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The role of vegetation in microhabitat selection of syntopic lizards, Phrynocephalus persicus, Eremias pleskei, and Eremias strauchi from Armenia

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Composition and density of vegetation are important habitat quality indicators for reptiles. The goal of this note was to determine dominant plant species, optimal size and density in habitats of syntopic lizards in the Goravan Sands Sanctuary. The role of vegetation variables was considered in relation to differences in thermoregulation of syntopic Phrynocephalus persicus, Eremias pleskei, and Eremias strauchi. Microhabitats of P. persicus differed from that of E. pleskei and of E. strauchi by a relatively frequent encounter of the plant Achillea tenuifolia, which is considered as potential habitat quality indicator. Phrynocephalus persicus generally used microhabitats with sparser vegetation. It is supposed that the excessive growth of shading vegetation can have a more negative impact on P. persicus than on E. pleskei.

Affiliations: 1: The Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies of the National Academy of Science of the Republic of Armenia, Abovian Str.-68, Yerevan, 0025, Republic of Armenia


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