Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp 2949–2963 | Cite as

Road edge effect on the abundance of the lizard Gallotia galloti (Sauria: Lacertidae) in two Canary Islands forests

  • Juan D. Delgado GarcíaEmail author
  • José R. Arévalo
  • José María Fernández-Palacios
Original Paper


Transportation infrastructure is a main cause of environmental change in forest landscapes worldwide. In the Canary Islands, a dense road system fragment the native Canarian pine and laurel forests causing potential changes in population densities of endemic lacertid lizards (genus Gallotia). Our aim was to assess road edge effects on relative abundance patterns of the endemic Gallotia galloti in both forests. We also explored the species–habitat relationships in this road-fragmentation context. We found that lizard relative density in relation to road edges differed between forests. Lizards were more abundant along edges and leeward interior, but virtually absent from the interior of the windward laurel forest. In the pine forest, lizards were present at three distances from edge, with a net decrease in abundance from edge to interior. These patterns may be explained partly by differences in vegetation structure regarding road proximity in each forest that potentially affect the helio- and thigmothermic character of G. galloti, and thus its habitat use. A general suggestion of this study is that road margins create corridors that may be used by native lizards for dispersal through inhospitable forest matrix. The high road density in Tenerife may have negative implications for the conservation of the genetic variability of G. galloti. At the island scale, increased communication between lizard populations through road corridors might increase homogenization of the gene pool. Ecological processes in which this lizard plays important roles may also experience changes along road edges.


Canary Islands Edge effect Gallotia galloti Laurel forest Lizards PCA Pine forest Road corridors Vegetation structure 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Báez M. (1985). Datos sobre la termorregulación de Gallotia galloti (SauriaLacertidae). Bonner Zoologische Beitrage 36: 557–562 Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bennet A.F. (1991a). Roads, roadsides and wildlife conservation: a review. In: Saunders, D.A. and Hobbs, R.J. (eds) Nature Conservation 2: The Role of Corridors, pp 99–118. Surrey Beatty, Chipping Norton, Australia Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bennet A.F. (1991b). What kind of organism will use the corridors?. In: Saunders, D.A. and Hobbs, R.J. (eds) Nature Conservation 2: The Role of Corridors, pp 407–408. Surrey Beatty, Chipping Norton, Australia Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bischoff W. (1982). Die innerartliche Gliederung von Gallotia galloti (Duméril & Bibron 1839) (Reptilia: Sauria: Lacertidae) auf TenerifeKanarische Inseln. Bonner Zoologische Beitrage 33: 363–382 Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bogren J. and Gustavsson T. (1991). Nocturnal air and road surface temperature variations in complex terrain. International Journal of Climatology 11: 443–455 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bonnet X., Naulleau G. and Shine R. (1999). The dangers of leaving home: dispersal and mortality in snakes. Biological Conservation 89: 39–50 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burrows N.D., Algar D., Robinson A.D., Sinagra J., Ward B. and Liddelow G. (2003). Controlling introduced predators in the Gibson Desert of Western Australia. Journal of Arid Environments 55: 691–713 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Carrascal L.M., Díaz J.A. and Cano C. (1989). Habitat selection in Iberian Psammodromus species along a Mediterranean successional gradient. Amphibia-Reptilia 10: 231–242 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Castanet J. and Báez M. (1988). Data on age and longevity in Gallotia galloti (SauriaLacertidae) assessed by skeletochronology. Herpetological Journal 1: 218–222 Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Castilla A.M. and Bauwens A.D. (1992). Habitat selection by the lizard Lacerta lepida in a Mediterranean oak forest. Herpetological Journal 2: 27–30 Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Coates D.J. (1991). Gene flow along corridors. In: Saunders, D.A. and Hobbs, R.J. (eds) Nature Conservation 2: The Role of Corridors, pp 408–409. Surrey Beatty, Chipping Norton, Australia Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Delgado J.D., Arévalo J.R. and Fernández-Palacios J.M. (2001). Road and topography effects on invasion: edge effects in rat foraging patterns in two oceanic island forests (TenerifeCanary Islands). Ecography 24: 539–546 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Delgado J.D., Arévalo J.R. and Fernández-Palacios J.M. (2004). Consecuencias de la fragmentación viaria: efectos de borde de las carreteras en la laurisilva y el pinar de Tenerife (Islas canarias). In: Fernández-Palacios, J.M. and Morici, C. (eds) Ecología Insular/Island Ecology, Symposium de Ecología Insular, pp 181–225. Asociación Española de Ecología Terrestre (AEET)-Cabildo Insular de La Palma, Spain Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Díaz J.A. (1994). Journal of Herpetology 28: 325–333 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Díaz J.A. and Carrascal L.M. (1991). Regional distribution of a Mediterranean lizard: influence of habitat cues and prey abundance. Journal of Biogeography 18: 291–297 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Downes S.J., Handasyde K.A. and Elgar M.A. (1997). Variation in the use of corridors by introduced and native rodents in south-eastern Australia. Biological Conservation 82: 379–383 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Driscoll D.A. (2004). Extinction and outbreaks accompany fragmentation of a reptile community. Ecological Applications 14: 220–240 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Forman R.T.T. (1998). Land Mosaics, the Ecology of Landscapes and Regions. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeUK Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Forman R.T.T. and Alexander L.E. (1998). Roads and their major ecological effects. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 29: 207–231 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Forman R.T.T. and Deblinger R.D. (2000). The ecological road-effect zone of a Massachusetts (USA) suburban highway. Conservation Biology 14: 36–46 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Forman R.T.T., Bissonette J., Clevenger A., Cutshall C., Dale V., Fahrig L., Goldman C., Heanue K., Jones J., Sperling D., Swanson F., Turrentine T. and Winter T. (2002). Road Ecology: Science and Solutions. Island Press, Washington D.C., Washington Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    González-Prieto S., Villarino A. and Freán M.M. (1993). Mortalidad de vertebrados por atropello en una carretera nacional del NO de España. Ecología 7: 375–389 Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hernández E., Nogales M. and Martín A. (2000). Discovery of a new lizard in the Canary Islands, with a multivariate analysis of Gallotia (Reptilia: Lacertidae). Herpetologica 56: 63–76 Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kaiser H.F. (1974). An index of factorial simplicity. Psychometrika 39: 31–36 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Klemmer K. (1976). The amphibia and reptilia of the Canary Islands. In: Kunkel, G. (eds) Biogeography and Ecology in the Canary Islands, pp 433–456. W. Junk, The HagueThe Netherlands Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Machado A., López-Jurado L.F. and Martín A. (1985). Conservation status of reptiles in the Canary Islands. Bonner Zoologische Beitrage 36: 585–606 Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Martín J. and López P. (2002). The effect of Mediterranean dehesa management on lizard distribution and conservation. Biological Conservation 108: 213–219 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Meunier F.D., Verheyden C. and Jouventin P. (2000). Use of roadsides by diurnal raptors in agricultural landscapes. Biological Conservation 92: 291–298 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Nogales M., Rando J.C., Valido A. and Martín A. (2001). Discovery of a living giant lizardgenus Gallotia (Reptilia: Lacertidae), from La GomeraCanary Islands. Herpetologica 57: 169–179 Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Nogales M., Quilis V., Medina F.M., Mora J.L. and Trigo L. (2002). Are predatory birds effective secondary seed dispersers?. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 75: 345–352 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Olesen J.M. and Valido A. (2003). Lizards as pollinators and seed dispersers: an island phenomenon. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18: 177–181 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ouboter P.E. (1981). The ecology of the island-lizard Podarcis sicula salfii: correlation of microdistribution with vegetation coveragethermal environment and food size. Amphibia-Reptilia 2: 243–256 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Rando J.C. and López M. (2001). Actuaciones para la conservación del Lagarto Canario Moteado (Gallotia intermedia). Consejería de Política Territorial y Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Canarias, Santa Cruz de TenerifeSpain Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Rosen P.C. and Lowe C.H. (1994). Highway mortality of snakes in the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona. Biological Conservation 68: 143–148 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Salvador A. (1985). Guía de campo de los anfibios y reptiles de la Península IbéricaIslas Baleares y Canarias. A. Salvador, León, Spain Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Sartorius S., Vitt L.J. and Colli R.G. (1999). Biological Conservation 90: 91–101 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Schlaepfer M.A. and Gavin T.A. (2001). Edge effects on lizards and frogs in tropical forest fragments. Conservation Biology 15: 1079–1090 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Shine R., Lemaster M., Wall M., Langkilde T. and Mason R. 2004. Why did the snake cross the road? Effects of roads on movement and location of mates by garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis). Ecology and Society 9: 9 [online] URL: Scholar
  39. 39.
    Siegel S. and Castellan N.J. (1988). Non-Parametric Statistics for the Behavioural Sciences. McGraw-Hill, New York Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Spellerberg I.F. (1998). Ecological effects of roads and traffic: a literature review. Global Ecology and Biogeography 7: 317–333 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Tello-Marquina J.C. (1979). Los lagartos (Lacerta sp.), una plaga de algunos cultivos de las Islas Canarias. Anales del INIA 9: 182–196 Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Thorpe R.S. and Báez M. (1987). Evolution 41: 256–268 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Tischendorf L. and Wissel C. (1997). Corridors as conduits for small animals: attainable distances depending on movement pattern, boundary reaction and corridor width. Oikos 79: 603–611 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Treweek J.R., Hankard P., Roy D.B., Arnold H. and Thompson S. (1998). Scope for strategic ecological assessment of trunk-road development in England with respect to potential impacts on lowland heathlandthe Dartford warbler (Sylvia undata) and the sand lizard (Lacerta agilis). Journal of Environmental Management 53: 147–163 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Valido A. and Nogales M. (1994). Frugivory and seed dispersal by the lizard Gallotia galloti (Lacertidae) in a xeric habitat of the Canary Islands. Oikos 70: 403–411 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Valido A., Nogales M. and Medina F.M. (2003). Fleshy fruits in the diet of Canarian lizards Gallotia galloti (Lacertidae) in a xeric habitat of the Island of Tenerife. Journal of Herpetology 37: 741–747 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Vestjens W.J.M. (1973). Wildlife mortality on a road in New South Wales. Emu 73: 107–112 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Way J.M. (1977). Roadside verges and conservation in Britain. Biological Conservation 12: 65–74 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Yanes M., Velasco J.M. and Suárez F. (1995). Permeability of roads and railways to vertebrates – the importance of culverts. Biological conservation 71: 217–222 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan D. Delgado García
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • José R. Arévalo
    • 2
  • José María Fernández-Palacios
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Física Básica, Facultad de FísicaUniversidad de La LagunaTenerifeSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad de La LagunaTenerifeSpain

Personalised recommendations