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Habitat selection in Iberian Psammodromus species along a Mediterranean successional gradient

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Habitat selection of Psammodromus algirus and P. hispanicus was studied along a successional vegetation gradient in Southern Spain. The two species select areas with a high cover of herbs and bushes at ground level and at a height of 10 cm above ground. Whereas P. algirus avoids sandy substrates and selects wooded areas, P. hispanicus, which does not enter the forest, occupies areas with a denser cover of low shrubs and herbs. Therefore, and despite their coincidence in the centre of the habitat gradient and hence their high overlap in habitat use, both species appear to be segregated, with P. hispanicus having a narrower spatial niche than P. algirus. The observed differences in habitat selection are discussed in the light of differences in morphology, reproductive constraints and predator avoidance. We conclude that interspecific competition plays a negligible role in the habitat segregation of the two species.

Affiliations: 1: Cátedra de Zoologia (Vertebrados), Departamento de Biologia Animal I, Facultad de Biologia, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain


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