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Autecological Observations of Acanthodactylus erythrurus (Sauria: Lacertidae) in Southern Spain

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Autecological aspects of Acanthodactylus erythrurus were examined at La Algaida, Cádiz Province, Spain. The male population is composed of 60 % adult and 40 % subadult individuals; male hatchlings increase in size at a rate of 0.06 mm/day from hatching ( 31 mm snout-vent length) to sexual maturity (∼61 mm); 50 % do not survive beyond 1.5 years, but those which reach adult size may live 1.9 years. Females grow from hatching (∼ 28 mm) to sexual maturity( 57 mm) at a rate of 0.05 mm/day; less than half survive 1.4 years and the life span of some individuals is 2.1 years. Adult males outnumber adult females 1.4:1, but subadult ratios are 1:1. Adults and subadults associate with different plant species during their activity period, but each age class tends to avoid open sand patches. These 8.4-13 g lizards feed on a wide variety of insects and appreciable quantities of plant material. 49% ofall males and 82% ofall females actively consume Halimium halimifolium. We suspect this lizard species is wide ranging and non-territorial ; only one agonistic encounter was recorded and it was interspecific (with Psammodromus algirus). The frequency of escape from predation is estimated at 26.8 %, based on tail-loss figures, and the incidence of cestode parasitism (Oochoristica cf. tuberculata) is 2.1 %. The population studied was highly resilient to 16 months of intense human predation.

Affiliations: 1: Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA


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