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Habitat selection by the Puerto Rican yellow-chinned anole, Anolis gundlachi

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Habitat selection can directly affect the fitness of an individual and the evolutionary dynamics of the population to which that organism belongs. We studied habitat use of the Puerto Rican yellow-chinned anole (Anolis gundlachi Peters, 1876) to examine whether this arboreal lizard uses its environment in a nonrandom manner. Males and females preferred woody vegetation substrates over nonwoody plants and sierra palms (Prestoea acuminata var. montana (Graham) A. Henderson and G. Galeano) as perching sites, and they also selected wider vegetation than what was randomly available. Selection for minimizing conspicuousness to potential predators and for increased locomotion capacity may help explain the preference for woody substrates and broader surfaces, respectively. Anolis gundlachi relies almost exclusively on visual cues for foraging and social interactions, and using wider perches also increases an individual's ability to scan a larger proportion of its territory. Our findings thus indicate that the nonrandom habitat use of free-ranging A. gundlachi leads to the selection of perching substrates that may increase performance of ecologically relevant capabilities.

La sélection de l'habitat peut affecter directement la fitness d'un individu ainsi que la dynamique évolutive de la population à laquelle il appartient. Nous avons étudié l'utilisation de l'habitat chez l'anolis de Gundlach (Anolis gundlachi Peters, 1876) de Porto Rico pour voir si ce lézard utilise son environnement de façon non aléatoire. Les mâles et les femelles préfèrent les substrats de végétation ligneuse aux perchoirs de végétation non ligneuse et de palmiers Prestoea acuminata var. montana (Graham) A. Henderson and G. Galeano; ils choisissent aussi des parcelles de végétation plus grandes que celles qui sont disponibles au hasard. La préférence pour les substrats ligneux et les grandes surfaces peut s'expliquer en partie respectivement pour minimiser la visibilité aux prédateurs potentiels et pour accroître la capacité de locomotion. Anolis gundlachi dépend presque exclusivement de signaux visuels pour la recherche de sa nourriture et ses interactions sociales; l'utilisation de perchoirs plus vastes permet aussi à l'individu de pouvoir surveiller une partie plus étendue de son territoire. Nos résultats indiquent donc que l'utilisation non aléatoire de l'habitat par les A. gundlachi libres en nature mène à la sélection de substrats pour se percher qui peuvent augmenter la performance de tâches d'importance écologique.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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