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1 March 2008 Nesting Behavior and the Use of Termitaria by the Andros Iguana (Cyclura Cychlura Cychlura)
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Abstract

Nest-site selection and the behavioral mechanisms driving selection have received relatively little attention in nesting ecology studies despite their importance when establishing conservation and management programs for endangered taxa that have obligate habitat-specific nesting requirements. The nesting ecology of Cyclura cychlura cychlura was studied on Andros Island, Bahamas, from 2001 to 2004 to elucidate factors influencing nest site selection and address conservation and management implications. Female iguanas predominantly used active Nasutitermes rippertii (Termitidae: Isoptera) termite mounds as egg incubation chambers. Nesting females selected mounds with >5 cm surrounding soil depth and initiated excavation and oviposition in early May. There was no correlation between female body size and termite mound size. Tunnels were excavated into lateral sides of mounds and terminated in nest chambers. Eggs were deposited outside the mound and pushed into the chamber using thrusts of the forelimbs. Mean egg incubation length for the combined 2003 and 2004 seasons was 75.7 days. Temperatures inside the mound were warmer and less variable than corresponding ambient temperatures. Mean hatching success for clutches in monitored nests ranged from 69.9–100% from 2002 to 2004. The nesting behavior of C. cychlura on Andros most likely reflects the effects of local climatic history and topography on reproductive attributes such as nest success. Elucidating annual female nesting effort, as indicated by active nests, could be an extremely useful indicator to assess both the number of breeding females and, indirectly, the potential for hatchling recruitment.

Charles R. Knapp and Audrey K. Owens "Nesting Behavior and the Use of Termitaria by the Andros Iguana (Cyclura Cychlura Cychlura)," Journal of Herpetology 42(1), (1 March 2008). https://doi.org/10.1670/07-098.1
Accepted: 1 July 2007; Published: 1 March 2008
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