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Comparative Aspects of Diet and Habitat in some New Caledonian Lizards

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

No comparative ecological studies have previously been conducted on the lizards of New Caledonia. This study examines two parameters of resource partitioning-diet and microhabitat, for eleven species of native lizards (Gekkonidae and Scincidae). Differences in diel activity patterns and coarse habitat differences tend to segregate geckos from skinks. Microhabitat and dietary differences were found among four sympatric species in a forest assemblage at Mt. Koyaboa, but retreat sites and some food resources were employed by all. Rock piles and crevices are important retreats for all the forest species studied and are a crude predictor of lizard abundance. Crickets and terrestrial isopods are the most important items in the diet of the predominant gecko Bavayia sauvagii. Though generally considered arboreal, this lizard is frequently active on the ground as well. Ants are an important food source of the forest skink Leiolopisma tricolor, whereas the ubiquitous ground skink Leiolopisma austrocaledonicum eats a wide variety of prey, with smaller individuals selectively taking smaller prey. Larger individuals consume feew large prey items but these may be of great energetic importance.

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


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