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Chameleons on the cruise: seasonal differences in prey choice of two dwarf chameleons

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Chameleons exhibit unique foraging behaviour among lizards. They are classified as cruise foragers, an intermediate foraging mode between sit-and-wait and active foraging, but it is not known whether cruise foraging is seasonally adaptive. Seasonal changes in stomach contents and available prey were quantified for two dwarf chameleon species: Bradypodion ventrale from coastal thicket habitats and B. taeniabronchum from montane fynbos habitat. Around twice the number of invertebrates were available in the fynbos and thicket habitats during summer; moreover the volume of invertebrates available during summer was approximately double. We found that chameleons increased the number of food items in winter to equal summer stomach volumes, and these changes were particularly evident for the montane species B. taeniabronchum. Winter austerity was shown for both chameleons as they were more likely to take hard prey in winter, compared to summer when hard prey items were avoided.
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Keywords: BRADYPODION; CRUISE FORAGING; ELECTIVITY; FYNBOS; LIZARDS; PREDATOR-PREY; THICKET

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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