Corucia zebrata (Scincidae) is endemic to the Solomon Archipelago and widely distributed across the island group. Corucia is evolutionarily distinct and diverged from its nearest relatives about 30 MYA. Little is known about its life history, basic ecology, or behavior in the wild. We conducted a six-week study of movement patterns of C. zebrata on the island of Ugi to determine home-range sizes and overlap among conspecifics. Twenty-five lizards were fitted with radio transmitters and were followed for periods of 5–38 days. Telemetry results indicated that the average home range over the period studied was equivalent to the canopy of one tree. Radio-tagged individuals were located more often in the canopy than on the trunk of the tree, where humans typically search for the lizards. The home range is smaller than expected for a similar-sized herbivorous lizard occupying a terrestrial habitat, but the small home range is consistent with results from other arboreal animals. The study increased our knowledge of the behavior and habitat preferences of an ecologically unusual lizard species. We noted that conventional survey methods, searching tree trunk habitats, have low detection probability, an important consideration for further ecological studies of the species, in particular for the purpose of assessing its conservation status.
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Vol. 45 • No. 1