, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 410-420

Niche segregation among sympatric Amazonian teiid lizards

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Abstract 

We examined standard niche axes (time, place, and food) for three sympatric teiid lizards in the Amazon rain forest. Activity times during the day were similar among species. Ameiva ameiva were in more open microhabitats and had higher body temperatures compared with the two species of Kentropyx. Microhabitat overlaps were low and not significantly different from simulations based on Monte Carlo analysis. Grasshoppers, crickets, and spiders were important in the diets of all three species and many relatively abundant prey were infrequently eaten (e.g., ants). Dietary overlaps were most similar between the two species of Kentropyx even though microhabitat overlaps were relatively low. A Monte Carlo analysis on prey types revealed that dietary overlaps were higher at all ranks than simulated overlaps indicating that use of prey is not random. Although prey size was correlated with lizard body size, there were no species differences in adjusted prey size. A. ameiva ate more prey items at a given body size than either species of Kentropyx. Body size varies among species, with A. ameiva being the largest and K. altamazonica the smallest. The two species of Kentropyx are most distant morphologically, with A. ameiva intermediate. The most distant species morphologically are the most similar in terms of prey types. A morphological analysis including 15 species from four genera revealed patterns of covariation that reflected phylogenetic affinities (i.e., taxonomic patterns are evident). A cluster analysis revealed that A. ameiva, K. pelviceps, and K. altamazonica were in the same morphological group and that within that group, A. ameiva differed from the rest of the species. In addition, K. pelviceps and K. altamazonica were distinguishable from other species of Kentropyx based on morphology.

Received: 26 December 1998 / Accepted: 15 September 1999