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The autecology of Anolis brasiliensis (Squamata, Dactyloidae) in a Neotropical Savanna

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Anole lizards represent one of the best studied radiations of terrestrial vertebrates. Herein we examine the autecology of Anolis brasiliensis from the Cerrado of central Brazil, based on a large amount of data collected across much of its geographic range. Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) techniques revealed that A. brasiliensis likely has a wider distribution than currently verified. For ecological comparisons, we tested whether i) body temperature is influenced by microhabitat, ii) sexes differ in diet, iii) sexes differ in morphology, and iv) climatic variables influence reproduction. Lizards were collected primarily in seasonally dry forests and gallery forests. Body temperature is strongly associated with air temperature at 5 cm above the substrate. The most important diet items were Araneae, Orthoptera and Formicidae, and high diet niche overlap exists between sexes. Females are significantly larger in body size than males. Males, however, have larger heads than females. Due to allochronic ovulation, A. brasiliensis largely have clutches with single eggs. Females often contain an oviductal egg and an enlarged vitellogenic follicle, suggesting the production of multiple clutches largely in the rainy season from October to January. Recruitment occurred mostly from January to April. Anolis brasiliensis is ecologically more similar to other anoles than to sympatric lizards in other major clades. These results reiterate the impact of evolutionary history on ecological and life history traits of squamate reptiles.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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