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Wasiolka, B., Jeltsch, F., Henschel, J. and Blaum, N. 2010. Space use of the spotted sand lizard (Pedioplanis l. lineoocellata) under different degradation states. African Journal of Ecology, 48(1): 96–104


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Space use of the spotted sand lizard (Pedioplanis l. lineoocellata) under different degradation states.

Summary / Notes:

Although the effects of grazing-induced savannah degradation on animal diversity are well documented, knowledge of how they affect space use or responding behaviour remains poor. In this study, we analysed space use of the spotted sand lizard (Pedioplanis l. lineoocellata) in degraded versus nondegraded habitats of southern Kalahari savannah habitats. Lizards were radio tracked, daily movement distances recorded and home range sizes calculated. In degraded Kalahari savannah habitats where plant diversity and perennial grass cover are low but shrub cover high, P. lineoocellata moves larger distances (40.88 ± 6.42 m versus 27.43 ± 5.08 m) and occupies larger home ranges (646.64 ± 244.84 m2 versus 209.15 ± 109.84 m2) than in nondegraded habitats (high plant diversity, high perennial grass cover and low shrub cover). We assume that this increase in daily movement distances and home range sizes is a behavioural plasticity to limited food resources in degraded savannah habitats. Although P. lineoocellata is able to adjust to resource-poor savannah habitats, the increase in the lizard’s movement activities is likely to result in a higher predation risk. This is supported by the lower availability of protective vegetation i.e. perennial grass cover. Hence, we conclude that despite behavioural plasticity of P. lineoocellata, overgrazing has a severe negative impact on the space use of P. lineoocellata. Keywords: habitat degradation, home range, overgrazing, resources, space use.

Year: 2010

Type: Journal Article

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2028.2009.01085.x/abstract


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