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Flight initiation distance in relation to substratum type, sex, reproductive status and tail condition in two lacertids with contrasting habits

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Flight initiation distance in relation to substratum type, sex, reproductive status and tail condition was studied in two lacertid lizards with contrasting habits: the ground-dwelling common lizard Zootoca vivipara and the rupicolous Horvath's rock lizard Iberolacerta horvathi. These species were studied in sympatric populations in a mountain area in North-Eastern Italy, Tarvisio Forest. Mean escape distance was significantly higher in I. horvathi than in Z. vivipara. In both species there were significant differences between sexes, with males escaping at longer distances than females but there were no significant differences between adults and subadults. In both species there were no differences in escape distance of females in different reproductive states. In Z. vivipara specimens with broken tails escaped at a shorter distance than individuals with intact tails. Substratum type had a significant effect on escape distance in both species.

Affiliations: 1: Agenzia Regionale per i Parchi (ARP), Regione Lazio, via Indonesia 33, I-00144 Roma, Italy; 2: F.I.Z.V. (Ecology) and Centre of Environmental Studies 'Demetra s.r.l.', via Olona 7, I-00198 Roma, Italy; 3: Dipartimento di Biologia, Università Roma Tre, viale Marconi 446, I-00146 Roma, Italy


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