Intraspecific behavioural variation in the lacertid lizard Meroles cuneirostris (Strauch, 1867) (Sauria:Lacertidae)

Published in: African Journal of Herpetology
Volume 64, issue 1, 2015 , pages: 54–66
DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2014.998725
Author(s): Jackie L. ChildersDepartment of Biology, USA, Douglas A. EiflerErell Institute, USA


We characterised behavioural variation between adult male, adult female and juvenile Meroles cuneirostris, a diurnal lacertid lizard endemic to the Namib Desert. Variation in microhabitat preference was significant between age classes, as adults spent more time underneath vegetative cover than juveniles. Movement patterns varied between demographic classes as juveniles exhibited movements of higher average durations than adults overall, and spent a greater percentage of time moving than adult females. Juveniles turned their heads more often than adults; all individuals scan their surroundings more frequently in the open sand and near vegetation. An analysis of foraging behaviour indicates that M. cuneirostris exhibits relatively few movements per minute (MPM) and a wide range of percentage of time spent moving (PTM), making it difficult to categorise this species as either an ambush or active forager. Furthermore, intraspecific variation in foraging behaviour within this species exists, as adult males and juveniles exhibited higher PTM values than adult females.

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