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1 March 2010 Altitude and Rock Cover Explain the Distribution and Abundance of a Mediterranean Alpine Lizard
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Abstract

West European Rock Lizards within the Iberolacerta group have a restricted distribution, with small, widely separated ranges in highland areas. The aim of this study was to identify possible habitat requirements (including habitat structure, type of vegetation, and refuge availability) and topographic factors (altitude and orientation) that may determine variations in the abundance of Iberolacerta cyreni on a 300-km2 mountain range and to discuss the implications of our results for the conservation of this endangered endemism. Both a stepwise regression and a best model selection approach showed that lizard abundance was positively correlated with only two predictors: altitude and cover of large rocks. Thus, the successful exploitation of alpine habitats by I. cyreni seemed to depend on the abundance of large rocks that may provide suitable basking substrates while minimizing predation risk. The positive association between altitude and lizard abundance predicts a fragmented distribution with isolated populations in the mountain peaks.

Camila Monasterio, Alfredo Salvador, and José A. Díaz "Altitude and Rock Cover Explain the Distribution and Abundance of a Mediterranean Alpine Lizard," Journal of Herpetology 44(1), 158-163, (1 March 2010). https://doi.org/10.1670/08-319.1
Accepted: 1 March 2009; Published: 1 March 2010
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