Title

Dietary Analysis of Lizard Species in the Dry Forest in Chamela, Mexico

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom A

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

This study was conducted during the dry season at the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere, a tropical dry forest reserve in coastal Jalisco, Mexico. Many lizard species are active during the dry season, yet little is known about their diet during this period of drought. Local lizard populations play a large role in the seasonal dry forest ecosystem. Three species of lizards were examined in this study: Sceloperus utiformis, Aspidoscelis communis, and Ameiva undulata. We expected that larger lizards would show greater diversity of stomach content when compared to smaller lizards. Pitfall arrays were used to trap the lizards, once captured stomachs were measured, then flushed with water to extract their stomach contents. We measured volume of stomach contents of approximately 20 lizards and determined the diversity and overall volume of insect and plant matter in those samples. The majority of the lizards captured during this study were juveniles, with little to no food items in their stomachs. Only one adult was captured (a Sceloporus utiformis) and it had the greatest volume and diversity of food items in its stomach. Our results suggest that few lizards are eating during the period we sampled in the dry season indicating that food resources, in addition to water, is restricted during this time of year. Our methods and study design could serve as a starting point for further studies focused on dietary analysis of lizards.

Poster Number

2

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dan Beck, Lisa Ely

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

Additional Mentoring Department

Geological Sciences

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May 17th, 8:30 AM May 17th, 11:00 AM

Dietary Analysis of Lizard Species in the Dry Forest in Chamela, Mexico

SURC Ballroom A

This study was conducted during the dry season at the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere, a tropical dry forest reserve in coastal Jalisco, Mexico. Many lizard species are active during the dry season, yet little is known about their diet during this period of drought. Local lizard populations play a large role in the seasonal dry forest ecosystem. Three species of lizards were examined in this study: Sceloperus utiformis, Aspidoscelis communis, and Ameiva undulata. We expected that larger lizards would show greater diversity of stomach content when compared to smaller lizards. Pitfall arrays were used to trap the lizards, once captured stomachs were measured, then flushed with water to extract their stomach contents. We measured volume of stomach contents of approximately 20 lizards and determined the diversity and overall volume of insect and plant matter in those samples. The majority of the lizards captured during this study were juveniles, with little to no food items in their stomachs. Only one adult was captured (a Sceloporus utiformis) and it had the greatest volume and diversity of food items in its stomach. Our results suggest that few lizards are eating during the period we sampled in the dry season indicating that food resources, in addition to water, is restricted during this time of year. Our methods and study design could serve as a starting point for further studies focused on dietary analysis of lizards.