Habitat use, daily activity periods, and thermal ecology of Ameiva ameiva (Squamata: Teiidae) in a caatinga area of northeastern Brazil.

  • Raul F. D. Sales
  • Leonardo B. Ribeiro
  • Jaqueiuto S. Jorge
  • Eliza M. X. Freire
Keywords: abundance, body size, ontogeny, seasonality, thermoregulation.

Abstract

We studied the use of spatial, temporal, and thermal resources by the Neotropical lizard Ameiva ameiva during rainy and dry seasons in a caatinga (xerophilous open forests) environment in northeastern Brazil. Lizards used the vegetation habitats and microhabitats in the ground, but never were seen in the rocky habitat. Adults usually used the arboreal-shrubby habitat, whereas juveniles were sighted more often in the shrubby-herbaceous habitat. Ontogenetic differences in spatial use seem to be linked to different thermal needs between age groups owing to differences in body size. Body temperatures were significantly higher in juveniles than in adults. Most teiid species have elevated body temperatures, usually above 37oC,
and are active during the hottest times of day, as was observed for A. ameiva in this study. Seasonality influenced habitat use and daily activity periods of adults, but not body temperatures. We verified annual fluctuations in adult abundance, with a decline of active lizards in the dry season; this phenomenon may be related to aestivation and/or increased mortality rate during the driest months.

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Author Biographies

Raul F. D. Sales
Laboratório de Herpetologia, Departamento de Botânica, Ecologia e Zoologia, Centro de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Campus Universitário Lagoa Nova
Leonardo B. Ribeiro
Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco – UNIVASF, Campus Ciências Agrárias, Colegiado de
Ciências Biológicas
Jaqueiuto S. Jorge
Laboratório de Herpetologia, Departamento de Botânica, Ecologia e Zoologia, Centro de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Campus Universitário Lagoa Nova
Eliza M. X. Freire
Laboratório de Herpetologia, Departamento de Botânica, Ecologia e Zoologia, Centro de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Campus Universitário Lagoa Nova
Published
2012-10-10
How to Cite
Sales, R., Ribeiro, L., Jorge, J., & Freire, E. (2012). Habitat use, daily activity periods, and thermal ecology of Ameiva ameiva (Squamata: Teiidae) in a caatinga area of northeastern Brazil. Phyllomedusa: Journal of Herpetology, 10(2), 165-176. https://doi.org/10.11606/issn.2316-9079.v10i2p165-176
Section
Articles