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Corpus Systématique Animale

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The relationship between ontogenetic habitat shifts, competition and predator avoidance in a juvenile lizard ( Anolis aeneus )

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  • Judy A. Stamps
  • Department of Zoology, University of California, 95616, Davis, California, USA

Juvenile Anolis aeneus lizards tend to hatch in shady areas, migrate to clearings after hatching, migrate out of clearings when they reach subadult sizes, and remain in shady areas throughout their adult lives. A juvenile preference for clearings is suggested by the much higher juvenile densities in clearings than in shady areas, and the fact that resident, territorial juveniles live in clearings while the juveniles seen in shady areas are virtually all transients. Clearings suitable for juveniles are very rare in undisturbed habitat, and juveniles competed for homesites within them. Resident juveniles frequently defended their homesites against transient individuals, and the density of residents in a clearing remained constant over a month despite high turnover in the identity of residents. It is suggested that the shortage of living space for juveniles is resporsible for the extreme aggressiveness of territorial juveniles relative to adults of the same species. Six alternate hypotheses could account for the ontogenetic habitat shift from clearings to shady areas. Four were directly refuted: (1) food suitable for juveniles is more abundant in shady areas, while prey suitable for adults is more abundant in clearings, (2) perches suitable for juveniles are found in both sunny and shady areas, (3) adult aeneus do not aggressively exclude juveniles from shady areas and (4) juvenile Anolis richardi are too rare to have much impact on juvenile aeneus habitat association. There is a variety of indirect evidence suggesting that juvenile aeneus do not prefer clearings for thermal reasons. The only hypothesis strongly supported was the predation hypothesis. Anolis richardi adults eat juvenile aeneus, and juvenile Anolis show escape responses to A. richardi. A. richardi only live in shady areas, and most richardi cannot eat A. aeneus once they reach subadult sizes. It is suggested that the ontogenetic shift from clearings to shady areas in A. aeneus is due to avoidance of adult Anolis richardi habitats by those size classes of aeneus most vulnerable to richardi predation. In this species, predator avoidance may have directly contributed to a shortage of living space, and may have led to the intense territoriality and aggression among the most vulnerable size classes.

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  • 1 - health sciences
  • 2 - psychology & cognitive sciences
  • 3 - behavioral science & comparative psychology
Catégories INIST
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
  • 4 - invertebres
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Animal Science and Zoology
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Catégories WoS
  • 1 - science ; 2 - zoology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - ecology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - behavioral sciences
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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

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