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Foraging modes in lacertid lizards from southern Africa

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Most lacertids are active foragers, but intrafamilial variation in foraging mode is greater than in most lizard families. We collected data on eight species of African lacertids to assess this variation. Both active and ambush foraging occurred within Pedioplanis and Meroles. Meroles ctenodactylus had a proportion of time moving and proportion of attacked prey detected while moving intermediate to those for actively foraging and ambushing Pedioplanis, but its number of movements per minute was exceptionally high. This species has a unique mixed foraging mode. Like active foragers, it seeks food by tongue-flicking while moving and spends a high percentage of the time moving. Like ambush foragers, it searches visually for prey during pauses between movements. Our findings confirm published data on four Kalahari lacertids. We discuss the history of foraging modes in advanced lacertids.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805, USA; 2: Department of Herpetology, Transvaal Museum, Paul Kruger Str., P.O. Box 413, Pretoria 0001, South Africa


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