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Seasonal variation of prey consumption by Liolaemus barbarae, a highland lizard endemic to Northern Chile

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Liolaemus barbarae is a small liolaemid lizard (SVL: 56 mm) endemic to the high Andes of northern Chile. Diet and prey availability were assessed during three seasons of activity (spring 2003, summer 2004, autumn 2004) in order to determine patterns of prey consumption and eventual selection. Liolaemus barbarae was strictly insectivorous preying on flying and epigeous insects, mainly chinch bugs (Lygaeidae) and ants. Prey types were consumed in different proportions than available in the environment. The selection for Lygaeidae, the most frequent prey consumed, was inversely correlated with their availability suggesting a nutrient-optimization strategy. Ants acted as complementary prey but they were less consumed than available. Despite the harsh environmental conditions, this Andean lizard seems able to fulfil its trophic requirements, its annual diet being less variable than the seasonal fluctuations of insects in the environment.

Affiliations: 1: Centro de Ecología Aplicada Ltda., Av. Suecia 3304, Ñuñoa, Santiago, Chile; 2: Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de La Serena, Casilla 599, La Serena, Chile; 3: Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de La Serena, Casilla 599, La Serena, Chile; Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas, Casilla 599, La Serena, Chile; 4: CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal


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