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The Northernmost Population of Podarcis muralis (Lacertilia, Lacertidae)

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In a one year study we collected ecological data of the northernmost population of P. muralis in Maastricht (50° 51' N. Lat. in the Netherlands). This population consisted of about 100 adult lizards. It was probably definitely divided in two subpopulations situated close to each other which were subdivided into 5 and 2 colonies respectively, between which there was no or hardly any exchange. Sex ratio did not significantly differ from 1.0. Compared with the wall lizards of more southern populations they were found to be rather small and to grow more slowly. The age structure of the population was out of balance on account of the small numbers of some younger year classes. Only good, i.e. warmer years are likely to enable a reasonable reproduction success. The total period of activity does not differ from that in more southern regions but the reproduction period is clearly retarded and the incubation period of eggs is distinctly longer. The frequent partial reproduction failure is probably compensated by a rather high longevity, which, however, renders the population very sensitive to each factor that increases mortality. The animals have home ranges of 15-25 m2 (no significant differences between sexes) and they have a considerable home range overlap. These home range sizes do not differ from those in more southern regions but the overlaps are much more frequent and therefore it can be concluded that there is a strong concentration on ecologically suitable and spatially very restricted spots. From a list of prey species based on faeces analysis P. muralis appears to be a non-selective feeder. On two adult specimens we found the acarine ectoparasite Ophionyssus lacertinus.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Ecology, Catholic University, Toernooiveld, 6525 ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands


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