USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications


Microhabitat variation explains local-scale distribution of terrestrial Amazonian lizards in Rondonia, Western Brazil

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Alison M. Gainsbury

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We investigate the role of ecology and phylogeny in the association between lizard abundance and microhabitat variables in an Amazon rain forest site. Using pitfall trap arrays, we collected data from 349 individuals belonging to 23 lizard species. After accounting for spatial autocorrelation and using a canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), we found that lizard captures were significantly associated with microhabitat variables, which accounted for 48 percent of the observed variation. Furthermore, a canonical phylogenetic ordination (CPO) indicated that microhabitat variables are more important in determining the distribution of lizard species than phylogenetic relationships among species. Termite nests, canopy openness, and tree circumference were strongly associated with the number of captures of certain lizard species. Our results confirm autecology studies of individual lizard species for which data are available. We suggest that maintaining heterogeneous forested microhabitats should be a central goal for sustaining a high lizard biodiversity in Amazon rain forests.


Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation