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Title Behavioral responses of the Spotted Sand Lizard Pedioplanis l. lineoocellata to grazing induced degradation

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Short title Behavioral response of Pedioplanis l. lineoocellata

Author(s) Wasiolka, B.(1); Henschel, J.(2); Blaum, N.(1); Jeltsch, F.(1)

Presenting author Wasiolka, B.

Institution(s) (1) Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation, University of Potsdam; (2) Gobabeb Training & Research Centre

Keywords reptiles; habitat degradation; behavioral flexibility; overgrazing; foraging

Abstract We studied the foraging behaviour of the lizard Pedioplanis l. lineoocellata (Spotted Sand Lizard), a sit and wait forager, in habitats of different grazing states to determine the effects of habitat degradation on this species. At high grazing intensity where vegetation cover and diversity is low, the lizard P. lineoocellata moves more frequently, spends more time moving and covers larger distances than in habitats where vegetation cover and diversity is high. These behavioural changes in movement patterns can be explained by less abundant prey in habitats with low vegetation cover and diversity. Although morphology and physiology of P. lineoocellata should constrain the change in foraging behaviour the species has modified its foraging strategy from sit and wait to actively foraging. We assume that this behavioural flexibility of P. lineoocellata is a buffer mechanism enabling the species to use and survive in degraded (unfavourable) habitats.

Congress Topic Land use, impact and value

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