Advertisement

Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 1723–1731 | Cite as

Establishment of Anolis sagrei on Bermuda represents a novel ecological threat to Critically Endangered Bermuda skinks (Plestiodon longirostris)

  • James T. Stroud
  • Sean T. Giery
  • Mark E. Outerbridge
Invasion Note

Abstract

Bermuda is an isolated, oceanic island with only one endemic terrestrial vertebrate, the Critically Endangered Bermuda skink (Plestiodon longirostris; Squamata, Scincidae). Major declines in P. longirostris populations have been caused primarily by habitat loss and mortality via invasive species (e.g., predation from birds and cats) and human waste products (e.g., trapped in discarded bottles). However, biotic interactions and interspecific competition with invasive lizards have also been identified as potentially detrimental to P. longisrostris populations. Here, we provide the first occurrence records of a highly invasive lizard, the Cuban brown anole (Anolis sagrei), on Bermuda. We assess the brown anole’s diet, habitat use, morphology, and island-wide distribution for comparison to the native skink, P. longirostris. Results of this study indicate that A. sagrei in Bermuda are highly terrestrial (>60% of all lizards observed on the ground vs. in trees) and forage primarily on terrestrial invertebrates. These data indicate substantial ecological overlap with the exclusively-terrestrial P. longirostris. This is in contrast to the other established non-native lizards on Bermuda, which are principally arboreal and have successfully coexisted with P. longirostris for >60 years. At present, the geographic distributions of A. sagrei and P. longirostris do not overlap. However, all extant skink populations are within several kilometers of brown anole populations (with the nearest being <0.5 km). The extensive overlap in ecological niche between the Bermuda skink and the invasive brown anole will likely present a serious conservation threat if contact is made. This study is exceptional in providing clear in situ ecological data which predict a conservation threat of an established invasive species to a Critically Endangered island endemic prior to coexistence. Continued monitoring of this situation as P. longirostris and A. sagrei inevitably come into contact will allow these a priori hypotheses of conservation risk via ecological overlap to be tested.

Keywords

Anolis Invasive species Oceanic island Endemic Endangered Competition Niche 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This is contribution #246, Bermuda Biodiversity Project (BBP), Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum and Zoo, Department of Environment and Natural Resources. We thank the Bermuda Zoological Society (Eric Clee Fund) for financial research support, as well as to Thad and Evan Outerbridge for providing accommodation. We thank Kenneth Feeley, Evan Rehm, Rachel Hillyer, Catherine Bravo-Avila, Jason Kolbe, Joe Macedonia, and one anonymous reviewer for providing important and insightful comments on previous versions of this manuscript. JS was supported by the FIU Judith Evans Parker Travel Fund and an FIU Dissertation Evidence Acquisition Fellowship. STG was supported by NSF DEB #1406399.

References

  1. Andersen MC, Adams H, Hope B, Powell M (2004) Risk assessment for invasive species. Risk Anal 24(4):787–793CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bacon JP, Gray JA, Kitson L (2006) Status and conservation of the reptiles and amphibians of the Bermuda islands. Appl Herpetol 3(4):323–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Campbell TS, Echternacht AC (2003) Introduced species as moving targets: changes in body sizes of introduced lizards following experimental introductions and historical invasions. Biol Invasions 5(3):193–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Davenport J, Hills J, Glasspool A, Ward J (2001) Threats to the Critically Endangered endemic Bermudian skink Eumeces longirostris. Oryx 35:332–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Davies KW, Johnson DD (2011) Are we “missing the boat” on preventing the spread of invasive plants in rangelands? Invasive Plant Sci Manag 4:166–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Edgar P, Kitson L, Glasspool AF, Sarkis S (2010) Recovery plan for the Bermuda skink, Eumeces longirostris. Department of Conservation Services, Government of Bermuda, CrawlGoogle Scholar
  7. Fukami T (2015) Historical contingency in community assembly: integrating niches, species pools, and priority effects. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 46(1):1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Giery ST, Lemoine NP, Hammerschlag-Peyer CM, Abbey-Lee RN, Layman CA (2013) Bidirectional trophic linkages couple canopy and understorey food webs. Funct Ecol 27(6):1436–1441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Goldberg SR, Kraus F, Bursey CR (2002) Reproduction in an introduced population of the brown anole, Anolis sagrei, from O’ahu, Hawai’i. Pac Sci 56(2):163–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Huang S-C, Norval G, Tso I-M (2008) Predation by an exotic lizard, Anolis sagrei, alters the ant community structure in betelnut palm plantations in southern Taiwan. Ecol Entomol 33:569–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. IUCN (2015) The IUCN red list of threatened species. Version 2015-4. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 17 Mar 2016
  12. Kolbe JJ, Glor RE, Rodriguez-Schettino L, Chamizo-Lara A, Larson A, Losos JB (2007) Multiple sources, admixture, and genetic variation in introduced Anolis lizard populations. Conserv Biol 21(6):1612–1625CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Kolbe JJ, VanMiddlesworth P, Battles AC, Stroud JT, Buffum B, Forman RTT, Losos JB (2016) Determinants of spread in an urban landscape by an introduced lizard. Landscape Ecol 31(8):1795–1813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee JC (1985) Anolis sagrei in Florida: phenetics of a colonizing species I. Meristic characters. Copeia 1985(1):182–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Losos JB (1996) Dynamics of range expansion by three introduced species of Anolis lizards on Bermuda. J Herpetol 1996:204–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Losos JB, Marks JC, Schoener TW (1993) Habitat use and ecological interactions of an introduced and native species of Anolis lizard on Grand Cayman, with a review of the outcomes of anole introductions. Oecologia 95(4):525–532CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Norval G, Hsiao WF, Huang SC, Chen CK (2010) The diet of an introduced lizard species, the brown anole (Anolis sagrei), in Chiayi County, Taiwan. Russ J Herpetol 17(2):131–138Google Scholar
  18. Powell R, Henderson RW, Farmer MC, Breuil M, Echternacht AC, van Buurt G, Romagosa CM, Perry G (2011) Introduced amphibians and reptiles in the greater Caribbean: patterns and conservation implications. In: Hailey A, Wilson BS, Horrocks JA (eds) Conservation of Caribbean Island Herpetofaunas. Volume 1: conservation biology and the wider Caribbean. Brill, Leiden, pp 63–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Raine A (1998) A study of the morphological differentiation, fluctuating asymmetry and the threats facing isolated populations of the Critically Endangered Bermuda Rock Lizard (Eumeces longirostris). Dissertation, University College London, England, UKGoogle Scholar
  20. Sakai AK, Allendorf FW, Holt JS, Lodge DM, Molofsky J, With KA, Baughman S, Cabin RJ, Cohen JE, Ellstrand NC, McCauley DE, O’Neil P, Parker IM, Thompson JN, Weller SG (2001) The population biology of invasive species. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 32:305–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sax DF, Stachowicz JJ, Brown JH, Bruno JF, Dawson MN, Gaines SD, Grosberg RK, Hastings A, Holt RD, Mayfield MM, O’Connor MI, Rice WR (2007) Ecological and evolutionary insights from species invasions. Trends Ecol Evol 22(9):465–471CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Schoener TW (1968) The Anolis lizards of Bimini: resource partitioning in a complex fauna. Ecology 49(4):704–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Simberloff D (1995) Why do introduced species appear to devastate islands more than mainland areas? Pac Sci 49(1):87–97Google Scholar
  24. Sodhi NS, Brook BW, Bradshaw CJ (2009) Causes and consequences of species extinctions. In: Levin SA (ed) Princeton guide to ecology. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 514–520Google Scholar
  25. Stroud JT, Outerbridge ME, Giery ST (2016) First specimen of an American green anole (Anolis carolinensis) on the oceanic island of Bermuda, with a review of the species' current global distribution. IRCF Reptiles Amphib 23(3):188–190Google Scholar
  26. Stuart YE, Campbell TS, Hohenlohe PA, Reynolds RG, Revell LJ, Losos JB (2014) Rapid evolution of a native species following invasion by a congener. Science 346(6208):463–466CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Thomas L, Buckland ST, Rexstad EA, Laake JL, Strindberg S, Hedley SL, Bishop JRB, Marques TA, Burnham KP (2010) Distance software: design and analysis of distance sampling surveys for estimating population size. J Appl Ecol 47:5–14CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Verill AE (1902) The Bermuda Islands: their scenery, climate, productions, physiography, natural history and geology: with sketches of their early history and the changes due to man, vol 11. Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  29. Wingate DB (1965) Terrestrial herpetofauna of Bermuda. Herpetologica 21:202–218Google Scholar
  30. Wingate R (1998) A comparison of demography and morphological variation in two insular populations of the Bermuda rock lizard (Eumeces longirostris). Dissertation, University of Swansea, Wales, UKGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • James T. Stroud
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sean T. Giery
    • 3
  • Mark E. Outerbridge
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Fairchild Tropical Botanical GardensCoral GablesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Applied EcologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environment and Natural ResourcesHamilton ParishBermuda

Personalised recommendations